Stories written by Thalif Deen
Thalif Deen, IPS UN Bureau Chief, has been covering the United Nations since the late 1970s. A former deputy news editor of the Sri Lanka Daily News, he was a senior editorial writer on the daily Hong Kong Standard. He has been runner-up and cited twice for “excellence in U.N. reporting” at the annual awards presentation of the U.N. Correspondents Association (UNCA). In November 2012, he was on the IPS team which who won the prestigious gold award for reporting on the global environment-- and in 2013, for the second consecutive year, he shared the gold medal, this time with the Associated Press (AP), for his reporting on the humanitarian and development work of the United Nations. A former information officer at the U.N. Secretariat, and a one-time member of the Sri Lanka delegation to the General Assembly sessions, Deen is currently editor-in-chief of the IPS U.N. Terra Viva daily electronic newsletter, published since March 1993. Beginning with the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, he has covered virtually every major U.N. conference: on population, human rights, the environment, social and economic development, food security, humanitarian aid, nuclear disarmament, water, energy and education. A former military editor Middle East/Africa at Jane’s Information Group in the U.S, a columnist for the Sri Lanka Sunday Times and a longtime U.N. correspondent for Asiaweek, Hong Kong and Jane's Defence Weekly, London, he is a Fulbright scholar with a Master’s Degree in journalism from Columbia University, New York.

U.N. Urged to Put Global Citizenship at Centre of Post-2015 Development Agenda

When Denmark hosted the World Summit on Social Development (WSSD) in March 1995, one of the conclusions of that international gathering in Copenhagen was to create a new social contract with “people at the centre of development.”

U.N. Chief Backs New Int’l Decade for Water for Sustainable Development

As the United Nations continues its negotiations to both define and refine a new set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) before a summit meeting of world leaders in September, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has expressed support for a new “International Decade for Water for Sustainable Development.”

Israel, Hamas Escape U.N.’s List of Shame on Attacks on Children

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, reportedly under heavy pressure from the United States and Israel, has decided not to blacklist the Jewish state in an annex to a new U.N. report on children victimised in armed conflicts.

U.N. Challenges Asia-Pacific to Be World’s First Region to End AIDS Epidemic

The United Nations has expressed confidence that the Asia-Pacific region, with almost five million people living with HIV, is politically committed towards the elimination of the deadly disease AIDS.

U.N. Sets Up Independent Panel to Probe Sexual Abuses in CAR

The United Nations, which came under heavy fire for its failure to act swiftly on charges of sexual abuse by French troops in the Central African Republic (CAR) last year, has decided to set up an External Independent Review (EIR) to probe these allegations.

Despite Setbacks, Global Sanitation Makes Progress, Says Fund

When the United Nations hosted a panel discussion last year urging its partners to “break their silence” on open defecation, Singapore’s deputy permanent representative Mark Neo was outspoken in his characterisation: “Open defecation is a euphemism. What we are talking about is shitting in the open.”

Small Arms Proliferation a Trigger for Rising Wildlife Crimes

The ongoing military conflicts in the Middle East and Africa continue to be fuelled by the proliferation of small arms and light weapons (SALW), primarily assault rifles, sub machine guns, hand grenades, portable anti-tank and anti-aircraft guns, rockets and self-loading pistols.

Relief Organisation Urges Mandatory Funding for Humanitarian Appeals

The United Nations is not only overwhelmed by a spreading humanitarian crisis, largely in Africa and the Middle East, but also remains hamstrung by a severe shortfall in funds, mostly from Western donors.

Terror Groups May Be Winning Digital War on Extremist Ideology

The United Nations is quick to point out the increasing pace at which digital technology is racing across the world.

Failure of Review Conference Brings World Close to Nuclear Cataclysm, Warn Activists

After nearly four weeks of negotiations, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference ended in a predictable outcome: a text overwhelmingly reflecting the views and interests of the nuclear-armed states and some of their nuclear-dependent allies.

Minorities Threatened More by Governments than Terrorist Groups, Says Study

In the conflict-ridden Middle East, minority groups continue to be threatened, attacked and expelled from their home countries by terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

U.N., World Bank Set 2030 Deadline for Sustainable Energy for All

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, an unrelenting advocate of sustainable energy for all (SE4All), once dramatised the need for modern conveniences by holding up his cell phone before an audience in the Norwegian capital of Oslo and asking: “What would we do without them?”

U.S. Hosts Arms Bazaar at White House Arab Summit

When the United States sells billions of dollars in sophisticated arms to Arab nations, they are conditioned on two key factors: no weapons with a qualitative military edge over Israel will ever be sold to the Arabs, nor will they receive any weapons that are not an integral part of the U.S. arsenal.

NGOs Urge Post-2015 Declaration Include Water, Sanitation as Basic Human Rights

Virtually every major international conference concludes with a “programme of action” (PoA) – described in U.N. jargon as “an outcome document” – preceded by a political declaration where 193 member states religiously pledge to honour their commitments.

NGOs Urge Commission of Inquiry to Probe Sexual Abuse in U.N. Peacekeeping

A rising tide of sexual abuse in U.N. peacekeeping operations has triggered the launch of a high-level campaign to end the continued attacks on women and children and an urgent call for the creation of an independent commission of inquiry.

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