In the year that has passed since the Taliban’s takeover in Afghanistan we have seen daily and continuous deterioration in the situation of Afghan women and girls. This has spanned every aspect of their human rights, from living standards to social and political status.
When world political leaders, mostly presidents and prime ministers, are ousted from power following military coups or street demonstrations, they flee to “safe havens” to avoid being jailed, executed by firing squads or hanged in public.
Perhaps one of the secure “safe havens”—and a popular “political retirement home”-- is Saudi Arabia, a traditionally authoritarian regime, which has provided sanctuary for leaders from Uganda, Tunisia, Pakistan, Yemen and Qatar.
The upcoming summit on Education, part of the UN Secretary General’s ambitious agenda, can truly bring accountability and participation to the inevitably new ways education will be imparted in the future.
The International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples
, commemorated annually on August 9, is a day to celebrate the many contributions of the 476 million Indigenous peoples worldwide.
A spike in state-sanctioned executions worldwide – including in Iran, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, and more recently Myanmar – has triggered strong condemnations from the United Nations and several civil rights and human rights organizations.
A growing mountain of data and analysis points to an unprecedented global crisis in the making, due to the convergence of “Four Cs” (Conflict, Covid, Climate and Costs).
The United Nations is planning to host a high-level “in-person” General Assembly session, September 20-26, with over 190 world leaders and delegates listed to speak, including heads of state, heads of government, high-ranking ministers and senior officials.
The world body is apparently on a risky path, with hundreds of delegates due in New York for the opening of the 77th session—and, most worryingly, at a time when a new Covid-19 variant BA.5 is sweeping across the United States, including New York.
With the invasion of Ukraine, Russia effectively destroyed the European peace order. Now, Europe needs to find ways to contain its aggressive neighbour, while its traditional protector, the United States, continues its shift of focus to the Indo-Pacific.
Pundits are focused on Joe Biden’s tanking poll numbers, while progressives continue to be alarmed by his dismal job performance. Under the apt headline “President Biden Is Not Cutting the Mustard,” last week The American Prospect summed up
: “Young people are abandoning him in droves because he won’t fight for their rights and freedom.”
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which dates back to the mid-1940s, is one of the longest military confrontations defying a permanent solution – even as it continues to be on the agenda of the United Nations whose primary mandate is the maintenance of international peace and security.
A 2.0 version of an ancient Biblical saying reads: It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a woman to become the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
The male/female ratio for the Secretary-General stands at 9 vs zero. And the Presidency of the General Assembly (PGA), the highest policy-making body at the UN, is not far behind either.
From the worst drought
in four decades threatening famine across the Horn of Africa to extreme heat in South Asia, the war in Ukraine and the unequal pace of pandemic recovery, global food systems are under extraordinary pressure.
The United Nations has continued to crackdown on sexual harassment system-wide since 2017 while its “whistle blower protection policy” has provided “protective status” for nearly 68 UN staffers who reported wrong doing.
But Equality Now, an international human rights organization, is accusing the UN of faltering on its longstanding “zero-tolerance” policy.
What does empowerment for young women look like? For many, the answer would include jobs. But the belief that jobs bring empowerment through income, greater autonomy, and bargaining power within the family fail to recognise that these potential gains for young women are undermined by widespread sexual harassment.
2022 is halfway through. It’s clear this is a year of immense disruption, mayhem and contestation. Horrendous war crimes are taking place in Ukraine.
The conflict is spurring soaring living costs, impacting the most vulnerable people, already faced with the adverse impacts of the pandemic and extreme weather caused by climate change.
When I first met Dr. Roland Bunch, I have to be honest—he scared me. As one of the most well-respected leaders on agronomy and resilient land management, he offers extremely prescient predictions on how famines take root when soils fail—and also has an admirably clear-eyed view of what we need to do better.
Early estimates in the Afghan provinces of Khost and Paktika indicate that the earthquake took lives of over a thousand people, with the death toll likely to rise. Many more have been injured, lost their homes and everything they owned.
Patricia Espinosa’s six years as Executive Secretary of the UN’s climate change secretariat ends on July 15th. During her time in charge, she has led efforts to operationalize the 2015 Paris Agreement and inject greater urgency into the diplomatic process. Although progress has been difficult, COP26 in Glasgow added some momentum and arguably brought the UN process to the start of its next stage: implementation.
Numerous countries of the developing South are distancing themselves from the contenders in the war in Ukraine, using the debate on the conflict to underscore their independence and pave the way for a kind of new de facto non-alignment with regard to the main axes of world power.
"The illegal military junta provides further evidence to the international community of its disregard for human rights as it prepares to hang pro-democracy activists," said Thomas Andrews and Morris Tidball-Binz, UN
special rapporteurs in Myanmar for human rights and extrajudicial arbitrary executions, respectively on June 10, 2022.
I’ve just finished going through the more than 60 presidential statements, documents and communiques about the war in Ukraine that the White House has released and posted on its website since Joe Biden’s State of the Union address in early March.