Stories written by Thalif Deen
Thalif Deen, UN Bureau Chief and Regional Director IPS North America, has been covering the U.N. since the late 1970s. A former deputy news editor of the Sri Lanka Daily News, he was a senior editorial writer on the Hongkong daily, The 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 part of an IPS team which who won the prestigious gold award for reporting on the global environment-- and in 2013, he shared the gold medal with the Associated Press 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 U.N. General Assembly sessions, Deen is currently editor in chief of the IPS U.N. Terra Viva daily electronic newsletter, published since March 1993. Since the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, he has covered virtually every single major U.N. conference: on population, human rights, the environment, social development, food security, 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, Hongkong and Jane's Defence Weekly, London, he is a Fulbright scholar with a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University, New York.

Middle Income Nations Home to Half the World’s Hungry

Nearly half of the world’s hungry, amounting to about 363 million people, live in some of the rising middle income countries, including Brazil, China, India, Indonesia and Mexico, according to a new report released Wednesday by the Washington-based International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

Veto Costs Lives as Syrian Civil War Passes Deadly Milestone

As the long drawn-out Syrian military conflict passed a four-year milestone over the weekend, the New York-based Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) summed it up in a striking headline: 4 years, 4 vetoes, 220,000 dead.

Middle East Conflicts Give Hefty Boost to Arms Merchants

The ongoing conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen have helped spiral arms sales upwards to the Middle East, according to a study released Monday by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

U.S. Honours 10 “Extraordinary Women” for Courage and Leadership

Speaking at a ceremony to honour 10 “extraordinary women” from Asia, Africa, Europe and Latin America for their exceptional courage and leadership in advocating peace, justice, human rights and gender empowerment, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Heather Higginbottom cited the former president of Malawi Dr. Joyce Banda, recognised at the United Nations as a relentless advocate for women’s rights.

Women Make Progress in Politics, But Glass Ceiling Remains Unbreakable

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, a creature of the U.N.’s 193 member states and who serves at their will and pleasure, did not hesitate to fault 13 countries that kept women out of their national parliaments and governments in power.

World Misses Its Potential by Excluding 50 Percent of Its People

The meeting is billed as one of the biggest single gatherings of women activists under one roof.

Gaza Reconstruction, Hampered by Israeli Blockade, May Take 100 Years, Say Aid Agencies

Despite all the political hoopla surrounding an international pledging conference in Cairo last October to help rebuild Gaza, the reconstruction of the Israeli-devastated territory is apparently moving at the pace of paralytic snail.

U.N. Member States Accused of Cherry-Picking Human Rights

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR) Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein has criticised member states for ‘cherry-picking’ human rights – advocating some and openly violating others – perhaps to suit their own national or political interests.

Syrian Conflict Has Underlying Links to Climate Change, Says Study

Was the four-year-old military conflict in Syria, which has claimed the lives of over 200,000 people, mostly civilians, triggered at least in part by climate change?

Despite U.N. Treaties, War Against Drugs a Losing Battle

As the call for the decriminalisation of drugs steadily picks up steam worldwide, a new study by a British charity concludes there has been no significant reduction in the global use of illicit drugs since the creation of three key U.N. anti-drug conventions, the first of which came into force over half a century ago.

A New Forensic Weapon to Track Illegal Ivory Trade

The wildlife trade monitoring network, TRAFFIC, is deploying a new forensic weapon - DNA testing - to track illegal ivory products responsible for the slaughter of hundreds of endangered elephants in Asia and Africa.

Syria’s “Barrel Bombs” Cause Human Devastation, Says Rights Group

The warring parties in the brutal four-year-old military conflict in Syria, which has claimed the lives of over 200,000 civilians and triggered “the greatest refugee crisis in modern times,” continue to break every single pledge held out to the United Nations.

Sexist Laws Still Thrive Worldwide

A rash of sex discriminatory laws – including the legalisation of polygamy, marital rape, abduction and the justification of violence against women – remains in statute books around the world.

Sri Lanka Gets Temporary Reprieve Over U.N. Report on War Crimes Charges

The 47-member Human Rights Council (HRC), responding to a request by the newly-elected government in Colombo, has deferred the release of a key U.N. report on human rights violations and war crimes charges against the Sri Lankan armed forces and Tamil separatists who fought a devastating decades-long battle which ended in 2009.

Israel’s Obsession for Monopoly on Middle East Nuclear Power

As the Iranian nuclear talks hurtle towards a Mar. 24 deadline, there is renewed debate among activists about the blatant Western double standards underlying the politically-heated issue, and more importantly, the resurrection of a longstanding proposal for a Middle East free from weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

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