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.

UN Chief Lauds Oman for Discreet Role in Peace Talks

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has singled out Oman as perhaps the only Arab country in the Gulf playing a discreet role – mostly behind-the- scenes – in helping resolve some of the military and political conflicts in the war-ravaged region.

UN Begins Negotiations on Treaty to Protect Marine Resources

The United Nations has begun negotiations for a new legally binding treaty for the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological resources in the world’s oceans – nearly 64 percent of which lie beyond national jurisdiction.

New York City Rejects Singling Out Muslims for Surveillance

With the rise in terrorist attacks in Europe, the Muslim community in New York City is fast becoming the centre of attention in the US presidential campaign currently underway.

US Nuclear Security Summit Shadowed by Rising Terrorism

When some of the world’s major nuclear powers meet in Washington DC next Friday, they will be shadowed by the rising terrorist attacks-- largely in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Western Powers Unlikely to Impose Arms Embargo on Saudi Arabia

As hundreds of civilians continue to be killed in the ongoing conflict in Yemen, one of the leading human rights organization is calling for an arms embargo – specifically against Saudi Arabia which is leading a coalition of eight countries battling Houthi rebels in the war-ravaged neighbouring country.

UN Laboriously Strives for its First Female Secretary-General

When the only female candidate failed in her attempt to become UN Secretary-General back in late 2006, an Asian diplomat weighed in with an upgraded Biblical quote: “It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle”, he said, “than for a woman to become the Secretary-General of the United Nations.”

After 25-Year Ban, Gays & Lesbians March in St Patrick’s Day Parade

This year’s annual St Patrick’s Day parade on Fifth Avenue was a historic event marking the end of a 25-year ban on gays and lesbians.

African Nations & Russia Protest UN Stamps on Gay, Lesbian Rights

When the UN Postal Administration recently unveiled a set of six new commemorative stamps -- as part of a global campaign promoting the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities -- it did not expect a furious backlash as it did, mostly from the 54 members of the African Group and from Russia, a veto-wielding permanent member of the Security Council.

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.

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