Stories written by Thalif Deen
Thalif Deen, who has been covering the United Nations since the late 1970s, is a former deputy news editor of the Sri Lanka Daily News and senior editorial writer on the Hong Kong Standard. As former UN Bureau Chief for Inter Press Service (IPS) news agency, he was 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 medal for reporting on the global environment-- and in 2013, he shared the gold, 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, he served twice as a member of the Sri Lanka delegation to the UN General Assembly sessions. 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.

Civil Wars Threaten to Break up a Volatile Middle East

As civil wars and cross-border military conflicts continue to escalate in the Middle East, Syria, Iraq and Libya are in danger of breaking up —even as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) continues to make territorial gains in the volatile region.

UN Says it Shattered Glass Ceilings Creating a Carpet of Shards

In the 1960s, when gender discrimination was widespread at the United Nations, there was a story doing the rounds of a woman candidate who had applied for a mid-level professional job in the UN Secretariat.

NYC Moves 30,000 Homeless to Permanent Housing

Grappling with an ever-growing problem of a housing shortage facing low income residents, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced plans to provide 30,000 New Yorkers with rental assistance for permanent housing -- largely to avoid or exit shelters.

CTBTO to Install Two Nuclear Monitoring Stations in Ecuador

The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO), based in Vienna, will soon install two new monitoring stations in Ecuador.CTBTOs Executive Secretary Dr Lassina Zerbo told IPS the two stations in Ecuador, RN 24 and IS 20, “will brings us an important step closer to the completion of the International Monitoring System – the network that monitors the globe 24/7 for signs of nuclear explosive testing.”

Border Restrictions Violate 1951 Refugee Convention

When the United Nations commemorated “Zero Discrimination Day” on March 1, there was an implicit commitment by the 193 member states to abhor all forms of discrimination – including against women, minorities, indigenous people, gays and lesbians and those suffering from AIDS.

World’s Rural Poor Need Social Protection, Says UN

The success of the UN’s post-2015 development agenda is predicated on one underlying theme: no one should be left behind – and certainly not the world’s rural poor --in the fight to eradicate hunger and poverty by 2030.

UNDP Pledges to Help Eradicate Poverty, Hunger By 2030

The UN Development Programme (UNDP) celebrated its 50th anniversary this week with a pledge to help implement the UN’s post-2015 development agenda aimed at eliminating extreme poverty and hunger by 2030.When the agency was founded in 1966, one in every three people was living in poverty. But that number has changed to one in eight, according to UNDP figures.

Mideast Arms Supplies Continue Despite Falling Oil Prices

The continued decline in oil prices is threatening to have a direct and indirect impact on several fronts, including development aid, migrant workers and remittances, voluntary contributions to UN agencies, humanitarian assistance to refugees and infrastructure-building in the Gulf countries.

125 Million Crying for Help Symbolize World’s 11th Largest Nation

Ban Ki-moon maybe fighting a losing battle to resolve one of the biggest humanitarian problems facing the world body – even as he completes his last 10 months as UN Secretary-General.

UN Chief Denied Second Term by a Livid US Veto

Boutros Boutros-Ghali, who passed away Tuesday at the age of 93, was the only UN Secretary-General (1992-1996) to be denied a second term in office because of a US veto in the 15-member Security Council.

Attacks on Medical Workers in War Zones under Fire

The growing number of indiscriminate bombings in three of the most devastating military conflicts currently underway -– in Syria, Afghanistan and Yemen – are taking a heavy toll on medical personnel serving with humanitarian organizations — along with thousands of civilians caught in the crossfire between government forces and rebel groups.

Rise of Middle Class Undermined in East Europe & Central Asia

The UN’s post-2015 development agenda, which was adopted by world leaders at a summit meeting last September, includes a highly ambitious goal: the eradication of extreme poverty by the year 2030.The decline in poverty, as reflected in the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which ended last December, had one positive fallout: the rise of a new middle class graduating largely from the ranks of the poor.

CTBTO’s Verification System Thwarts Nuclear Tests

The Vienna-based Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) – a 24-hour international watchdog body – is known never to miss a beat.The Organization’s international monitoring and verification system has been tracking all nuclear explosions -– in the atmosphere, underwater and underground –- including all four nuclear tests by the Democratic Republic of Korea (DPRK) – the only country in the world to test nuclear weapons in the 21st century.

UN Seeks Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation

The United Nations says it is determined to end female genital mutilation (FGM) – a ritual practiced mostly in Africa, the Middle East, parts of Asia and even among some migrant communities in Europe.And the world body’s determination is being backed with facts, figures -- and a global campaign by a Joint Programme against FGM initiated by the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) and the UN children’s agency UNICEF.

After 20 Years, Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Still in Political Limbo

After nine years in office, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will step down in December perhaps without achieving one of his more ambitious and elusive political goals: ensuring the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT).

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