Middle East & North Africa

Bangladeshi Migrant Female Domestic Workers Face Violence

Millions of Bangladeshi women are facing violence either as domestic housemaids or as migrant workers in Gulf countries. A few days ago, a video in social media, secretly filmed by a Bangladeshi housemaid employed in Saudi Arabia, caught everyone’s attention where she was helplessly crying and begging to be rescued from her abusive employer.

Despite Halting Progress, UN Continues its Push for a Nuclear-Weapons-Free Zone in the Middle East

A longstanding proposal for a regional nuclear-weapons-free zone (NWFZ) in the Middle East – one of the world’s most conflict-ridden regions – has been kicked around the corridors of UN committee rooms since 1974.

Saudi UNESCO Win Riles Khashoggi Standard-Bearers

Human rights campaigners have reacted angrily to the election of Saudi Arabia to the United Nations cultural agency UNESCO’s top board, highlighting the kingdom’s ongoing crackdowns on political freedoms and critics.

U.N. Group Launched to put Afghan Women at Centre of Peace Initiatives 

Afghanistan’s first female ambassador to the United Nations this week launched a U.N. group that aims to put women at the centre of peace initiatives in Afghanistan. 

Achieving the Possible: “Weapons of Mass Destruction Free Zone in the Middle East”

A historic conference on the Middle East opened at the United Nations in New York on 18th November and will continue until 22nd November. The Conference on the Establishment of a Middle East Zone Free of Nuclear Weapons and Other Weapons of Mass Destruction is presided over by Ambassador Sima Bahous of Jordan.

UN Agency for Palestinians in Crisis as Chief Quits

The United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees was in “crisis mode” on Wednesday after director Pierre Krahenbuhl resigned amid a misconduct probe over whether he fast-tracked his girlfriend into a top aid job, analysts said.

Election Death Toll Underscores Afghanistan’s Fragile Democracy

A wave of bloody Taliban attacks aimed at derailing Afghanistan’s recent elections killed and maimed hundreds of people, including children, the United Nations mission to the country said on Tuesday.

Vibrant Civil Society Essential for Sustainable Development in Iran

2019 has not been a good year for Iranian human rights activists. At a time where civic space had completely closed, many watched in disbelief as the regime mounted even more restrictions on civil society. Over recent months, many activists have been arrested, like Noushin Javari (a photographer), Marzieh Amiri (a journalist), and Javad Lal Mohammadi (teacher).

Aid Groups Warn of Humanitarian Crisis from Turkey’s Assault on Syria

Aid groups operating in northeastern Syria have been raising the alarm about civilian casualties and an impending humanitarian crisis this week, as Turkey began a military assault on the turbulent region’s Kurdish militants.

Constitutional Committee Breakthrough Offers ‘Sign of Hope’ for Long-suffering Syrians

There is a “sign of hope for the long-suffering Syrian people” as a Syrian-led, Syrian-owned, credible and inclusive Constitutional Committee is set to start deliberations next month, the United Nations Special Envoy for the country told the Security Council on Monday.

Watchdog Pushes U.S. to Publish ‘Duty to Warn’ Khashoggi Files

A media watchdog has asked United States intelligence agencies to reveal whether they knew about an assassination plot against Jamal Khashoggi and failed to warn the Saudi journalist he was in mortal danger.

Advice to US: When You’re Going to a Gunfight, Bring all Your Friends with Guns

Jim Mattis a former United States Defense Secretary in the Trump administration quotes a Marine Corps dictum in a recently released book titled “Call Sign Chaos: Learning to Lead”.

NYC Library Ditches Controversial Saudi Royal MBS’ Event

A New York library appeared to bow to pressure this week when it canceled an event that was being co-hosted by Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Mohammad bin Salman, who is accused of a range of human rights abuses.

Petition and Critics of Khashoggi Killing Heap Pressure on U.N.-Saudi Event

The United Nations faces growing public opposition to an event it is co-hosting with a Saudi Arabian charity only days before the anniversary of the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

U.N. Criticised for Link-up with Saudi Prince MBS

The United Nations is under growing pressure to scrap an event it is co-hosting with the private foundation of Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Mohammad bin Salman, who has been linked to the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The Syrian Tragedy

As I often do, I recently discussed the Syrian Civil War with a friend of Lebanese origin. He is far from supporting the Syrian regime, which occupied his country of origin between 1989-2008. My friend assumes the Syrian government was behind the assassination of Lebanon´s prime minister Bachir Gemayel, who in 1982 together with 26 others were blown to pieces by a bomb planted at the headquarters of the Lebanese Forces. He also suspects Syria was behind the death of former prime minister Rafik Harari, who in 2005 was killed in a car bomb explosion. However, this does not make my friend an admirer of Israel or the U.S., which together with Russia, Turkey, Iran, and Saudi Arabia meddle in Syria´s bloody internal strife. It is an almost impossible task to disentangle the mess of warring fractions guided by corrupt politicians, religious fanatics, liberal politicians, bandits, Mafiosi and/or foreign commercial and strategical stakeholders.

UN Aid Boss Promises “Punishment” for Misconduct in Yemen and Palestine

A senior United Nations official has promised a thorough investigation into allegations of misconduct in field operations in Yemen and the occupied Palestinian territories, saying that those responsible would be punished.

Russia and Syria in the Spotlight for Latest Idlib Medic Deaths

Medical aid groups have again blasted Russian and Syrian government forces this week for an ever-growing death toll among doctors, paramedics and other health workers in military strikes in northwestern Syria.

Rules of War Widely Flouted, 70 years on: Red Cross

World governments are not doing enough to stop armed groups from committing mass rape, torture and other war crimes, the head of the Red Cross aid group head Peter Maurer said on Tuesday.

Five Million Palestinians Deserve Better!

An old adage passed on by veteran U.N. staff to younger recruits is, “Do nothing whenever possible. It’s safer.” For a junior officer that might indeed be career-enhancing. 

Mediating Peace in a Complex World

“It is all about orchestration”, was Martin Griffiths’, the UN Special Envoy for Yemen, response to the question of what mediation in Yemen looks like today.

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