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.

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).

UN Hails Myanmar’s Historic New Parliament

When U.Thant of Burma (now Myanmar) was elected UN Secretary-General back in November 1962, he was the first Asian to hold that post after Trygve Lie of Norway and Dag Hammarskjold of Sweden.The appointment was also a historic moment for Asia, which waited for 45 long years for the second Asian to hold that position: Ban Ki-moon of South Korea, the current UN Secretary-General, who was elected in January 2007.

Ebola Recovery Funds Impossible to Track, Says New Study

When the Ebola epidemic devastated three West African countries – Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea two years ago – the international community responded with pledges of over $5.8 billion in funds to fight the disease which has killed over 11,300 people.

UN Fighting Losing Battle Over Global Humanitarian Crises

As the global refugee crises continues to worsen by the hour, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is quick to point out that when he took office in January 2007, the international appeal for funds for humanitarian emergencies was only about 4.0 billion dollars annually.

Zero Hunger? UN Leads With Landfill Salad and Recycled Food

When the United Nations hosted a high-level lunch for visiting world leaders at the UN dining room during the General Assembly sessions last September, they were in for an unexpected surprise.

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