Stories written by Thalif Deen
Thalif Deen, Director & Senior Editor, UN Bureau, Inter Press Service (IPS) news agency Thalif Deen has been covering the United Nations since the late 1970s. 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. As the former UN Bureau Chief for Inter Press Service, 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 won the prestigious gold medal for reporting on the global environment-- and in 2013, he shared the gold, this time with the UN Bureau Chief of Reuters news agency, 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. His track record includes a stint as deputy news editor of the Sri Lanka Daily News and senior editorial writer on the Hong Kong Standard. A former military editor Middle East/Africa at Jane’s Information Group, 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.

Sexual Abuse Where UN Chief has No Jurisdiction to Act

As sexual harassment charges in the UN system keep piling up, the UN Secretariat has a new administrative problem on its hands: accusations of sexual abuse in the New York office of the International Civil Service Commission (ICSC) whose members are elected by the 193-member General Assembly – but not answerable either to the Secretary-General or the President of the Assembly.

Is UN’s Ambitious Global Compact the Last Word on the Migrant Crisis?

As the death toll keeps mounting and the humanitarian crises continue unabated, the life of the average migrant or refugee has largely turned out to be an unmitigated nightmare.

Merchants of Death Ultimate Winners in Escalating Military Conflicts

In most military conflicts worldwide, the ultimate winners are not one of the warring parties-- but the world’s prolific arms traders, described by peace activists as “merchants of death”.

UN Relies on DNA for Paternity Claims Against Sexually Abusive Peacekeepers

As sexual abuse and paternity claims continue to rise against UN peacekeepers overseas, the United Nations is actively collaborating with troop contributing countries (TCC) in collecting DNA samples: a protocol introduced back in 2014.

Boycott, Divest & Sanctions Campaign Not Anti-Israel but Pro-Palestinian, Says Norwegian MP

When Norwegian parliamentarian Bjørnar Moxnes recently nominated the BDS movement for the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize, the leader of Norway’s Red Party faced the inevitable: a furious backlash from pro-Israeli and anti-Palestinian groups.

Tackling Inequality – The Myth that Davos Can Change the World

When the World Economic Forum (WEF) concluded in Davos, Switzerland last week, the outcome of the annual talk-fest was seemingly predictable—plenty of unrestrained platitudes but, surprisingly, less of the American populist, protectionist rhetoric.

Women’s March Focuses on Gender Equality & Minority Rights

The one-year anniversary of the 2017 Women’s March in Washington was commemorated in mid-town Manhattan yesterday where thousands of demonstrators marched through the streets of New York protesting the policies of the Trump administration—focusing specifically on gender empowerment, women’s rights, diversity, migrants, people of color, and gay and lesbian rights, in what is described as an increasingly polarized American society.

US, Led by an Erratic Trump, Seeks to Undermine UN

The continued erratic and outrageous comments by President Donald Trump – and his attempts to undermine the United Nations – are threatening to cause irreparable damage to the world body.

Pakistan, Facing Military Aid Cuts, One Step Ahead of US

When the United States abruptly cuts off military supplies to its allies for political or other reasons, the reaction has been predictable: it drive these countries into the arms of the Chinese, the Russians and Western European weapons suppliers.

The Reality of North Korea as a Nuclear Power

With a track record of six underground nuclear tests between 2006 and 2017, North Korea is desperately yearning to be recognized as the world’s ninth nuclear power – trailing behind the US, UK, France, China, Russia, India, Pakistan and Israel.

Bronx Fire Deadliest in Over 25 Years, Says Mayor

A major fire, fueled by strong winds on a frigid night, killed at least 12 people in a Bronx building, inhabited mostly with migrants from West Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America.

US Faces Collective Defiance at UN Over Jerusalem

When the UN General Assembly condemned the United States for its decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the vote was described as a “collective defiance” of the international community against public threats against the United Nations and its member states by a politically unpredictable and predictably wavering US President.

Bangladesh Aims at Middle-Income Status by 2021

The environmental challenges facing Bangladesh, described by the United Nations as one of the world’s “least developed countries” (LDCs), are monumental, including recurrent cyclones, perennial floods, widespread riverbank erosion and a potential sea level rise predicted to put about 27 million people at risk over the next two decades.

Police Tighten Surveillance to Thwart Terrorist Attacks on City

A Bangladesh immigrant, 27 year-old Akayed Ullah, set off a pipe bomb strapped to his body in a crowded passageway at a Times Square subway station yesterday. The explosive failed to detonate but burnt him and injured three others causing panic during the morning rush hour in the heart of the city.

Are Rising Seas, Coastal Erosion & Powerful Storms a Wave of the Future for Small Island Nations?

The 44-member Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) represents some of the world’s most vulnerable island nations fighting a virtually losing battle against rising sea levels triggered by global warming and climate change.

Post-Nuclear Nightmares Still Linger Over Pacific Islands

The Pacific islands have long remained victims of nuclear crimes – but the perpetrators, three of the world’s major powers with permanent seats in the UN Security Council, never paid for their deadly sins.

Fiji Civil Society Meeting to Focus on Pacific Islands Under Threat

The 57 small island developing states (SIDS), including 20 described as territories which are non-UN members, are some of the world’s most vulnerable – both economically and environmentally.

Should Environmental Refugees be Granted Asylum Status?

The 1951 UN convention on political refugees-- which never foresaw the phenomenon of climate change-- permits refugee status only if one “has a well-founded fear of persecution because of his/her race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion.”

Will DNA Data Base Deter Sexual Abuse at UN?

The United Nations is fighting a losing battle against the widespread – and continued – sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) by UN peacekeepers and civilian staff resulting in relatively few convictions amidst daunting problems in tracking abusers and nailing down paternity claims.

UN Agency Defers Action Cutting Ties to Tobacco Industry

Back in November 2008, the 193-member General Assembly decided, by consensus, to ban smoking and tobacco sales at the UN headquarters in New York: a ruling observed by all affiliated agencies worldwide, including the Geneva-based World Health Organization (WHO) which has severed links with the tobacco industry.

Global Campaign for Mercury-Free Dentistry Targets Africa

A vibrant global campaign to ban the use of mercury in dentistry is shifting direction: moving from Europe to the developing world.

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