When hundreds of delegates and diplomats arrive in New York city next week for the new 76th session of the UN General Assembly, they will be pinned down with pandemic restrictions in a city where Delta variant infections have been skyrocketing.
When the high-level segment of the 76th session of the UN General Assembly opens September 21, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is unlikely to occupy a much-coveted seat in the world body.
The rigid new restrictions imposed by New York city-- currently facing a surge in the deadly Delta corona virus variant-- have prompted scores of US companies to impose mandatory vaccinations on all employees, mostly returning to work after temporary lockdowns.
When the Taliban captured power back in 1996, one of its first political acts was to hang the ousted Afghan President Mohammed Najibullah in Ariana Square in Kabul.
The newly-installed government played a triple role: judge, jury and hangman, all three rolled into one.
As the 20-year-old occupation of Afghanistan came to an inglorious end last week, there were heavy losses suffered by many-- including the United States, the Afghan military forces and the country’s civilian population.
As New York city struggles to cope with the widespread outbreak of the deadly new coronavirus Delta variant -– which has claimed more than 100,000 cases per day in the US— the United Nations is laying down strict guidelines at its headquarters (UNHQ) for staffers, diplomats and visiting delegates.
The annual high-level debate during the upcoming 76th General Assembly sessions beginning September 21 —which traditionally attracted over 150 world leaders in a pre-pandemic era-- is now clouded in uncertainty.
A landmark report on the hazards of climate change predicts a devastating future for the world at large.
Authored by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and released August 9, the study is being described by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres as “code red for humanity”— a rallying cry before an impending global disaster.
The United Nations has long preached the wisdom of transparency and accountability to the outside world, but has failed to practice the same principles in its own backyard – or even on the 39th floor of the Secretary-General’s office in the UN Secretariat.
Ed Koch, a sharp-tongued Mayor of New York city (1978-89), once stopped short of using a four-letter word to denounce the United Nations.
Instead, he opted for a five-letter word dismissing the UN as a “sewer” relegating it to the lower depths of degradation.
As a wisecracking cynic once remarked: “The sun would never set on the British empire because God wouldn’t trust an Englishman in the dark“. Perhaps it was an uncharitable remark because most of the British colonies have long gone.
With Henrietta Fore's decision last week to step down as UNICEF Executive Director, her successor is most likely to be another American since that post has been held-- uninterruptedly -- by US nationals for almost 74 years, an unprecedented all-time record for a high-ranking job in the UN system.
When a Southeast Asian ambassador hosted a lunch for journalists, including reporters from the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post, he told us there was an ulterior motive for the sumptuous lunch at his residence.
When the United Nations renovated its building at a cost of over $2.1 billion, as part of a seven-year refurbishing project back in 2014, the seating in the cavernous General Assembly hall was increased from 193 to 204—primarily in anticipation of at least 11 new member states joining the world body sooner or later.
When the UN’s annual report on Children and Armed Conflict was released last week, it was expected to “name and shame” some of the world’s worst human rights violators – particularly the abusers of children.
The world’s nine nuclear armed states have downsized their military arsenals, but made up for their loss by increasing the number of weapons on high operational alert, according to a new report from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
A hilarious anecdote, recounted in the New York Times years ago, related to the widespread corruption embedded in the political culture of a Southeast Asian country where crooked politicians were willing to provide receipts every time they received a bribe—big time bribes.
The United Nations has been in the forefront of an ongoing battle against the growing hazards of climate change, including the destruction of different species of plants and animals, the danger of rising sea-levels threatening the very existence of small island developing states (SIDS), and the risks of oceans reaching record temperatures endangering aquatic resources.
In most civil wars and military conflicts across the politically-volatile Middle East, including in Syria, Yemen and Palestine, the ongoing battles are being fought not on a level playing field but on an uneven killing field.
The UN Security Council (UNSC), the most powerful political body at the United Nations, has largely remained silent or ineffective in resolving one of the longstanding military conflicts in the Middle East involving Israelis and Palestinians.
As negotiations for the upcoming election—or re-election-- of a UN Secretary-General gather momentum, one undeniable fact looms heavily over the final decision: the choice of a UN chief is the intellectual birthright of the five big permanent members (P5) of the Security Council, namely, the US, UK, France, China and Russia.