In October 2021, the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) held a seminar on the pandemic and education systems. Strikingly, 99% of the students in the region spent an entire academic year with total or partial interruption of face-to-face classes, while more than 600,000 children struggled with the loss of their caregivers due to the pandemic. It is further estimated that the crisis could force 3.1 million children and youth to drop out of school and force over 300,000 to go to work. At the seminar, Alicia Bárcena, the executive secretary of ECLAC, said that the combination of the pandemic, economic turbulence in the region, and the setbacks in education have caused ‘a silent crisis’.Continue reading
The last month has seen a drastic escalation in the war in Yemen. According to the UN, January will most likely be the month with the highest ever casualties reported since the war began in 2014. The January 21 strike on a prison in Sa’ada which killed 91 people marked the highest death toll in a single strike in the last three years. The number of airstrikes carried out by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition last December was already the highest in years. In all likelihood, this figure will be even higher by the end of January.
On the other hand, the Houthis have demonstrated their capacity and willingness to retaliate against members of the Saudi-led coalition by sending drones and missiles hundreds of miles away to Abu Dhabi.
Exactly at a time when decisive international intervention to find a political solution to end the war is needed, the UN and the international community have shown their unwillingness to take the extra efforts required.Continue reading
On January 3rd of this year, the five nuclear-armed states with the largest nuclear arsenals issued a joint statement declaring that they “consider the avoidance of war between Nuclear-Weapon States and the reduction of strategic risks as our foremost responsibilities.” The statement goes on to “affirm that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.”
As the Doomsday Clock of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists stands at 100 seconds to midnight – “the closest it has ever been to civilization-ending apocalypse” – this statement would appear to be good news for the world.
However, all five of the signatories to the statement are currently engaged in maintaining powerful nuclear arsenals.Continue reading
The Cherokee Nation hosted the launch of the United Nations’ International Decade of Indigenous Languages in Tahlequah last week. The three-day event featured language leaders from around the world, both in person and virtually, to share information and best practices on language preservation efforts.
The 10-year initiative continues the work of the United Nations General Assembly’s 2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages, drawing attention to the critical loss of Indigenous languages and the urgent need to preserve, revitalize and promote them.
Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. opened the event with a welcome, and Special Envoy for International Affairs and Language Preservation Joe Byrd offered a blessing.Continue reading
Many politicians, academics, media pundits are wont of invoking the “rule of law”, a “rules-based international order”, “values diplomacy” etc. But what do all these benevolent-sounding slogans actually mean in practice? Who makes the rules, who interprets them, who enforces them? What transparency and accountability accompany these noble pledges?
In a very real sense, we already have a “rules based international order” in the form of the UN Charter and its “supremacy clause”, article 103 of which grants it priority over all other treaties and agreements. The norms established in the Charter are rational, but effective enforcement mechanisms are yet to be created.
We also have humanistic “values” that should guide diplomacy and peace-making – including the principle “pacta sunt servanda” (treaties must be implemented, art. 26 of the Vienna Convention on the law of treaties).Continue reading
Late January of this year will mark the first anniversary of the entry into force of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. This momentous international agreement, the result of a lengthy struggle by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) and by many non-nuclear nations, bans developing, testing, producing, acquiring, possessing, stockpiling, and threatening to use nuclear weapons. Adopted by an overwhelming vote of the official representatives of the world’s nations at a UN conference in July 2017, the treaty was subsequently signed by 86 nations. It received the required 50 national ratifications by late October 2020, and, on January 22, 2021, became international law.Continue reading
Jane Holl Lute is in high demand. In 2020, on top of her two high-level United Nations jobs, the American diplomat has juggled other numerous executive roles on corporate and/or nonprofit boards, earning more than $900,000, according to public records. Lute was the U.N. envoy for Cyprus until she resigned in August, and she still holds the post of special coordinator on improving the U.N.’s response to sexual exploitation and abuse.
If her many endeavors outside the U.N. passed the U.N.’s ethics test, her latest gig became more complicated: working as a nonexecutive director for Royal Dutch Shell, the multinational energy company based in the Netherlands. The company has stakes in the heart of the longstanding Cyprus conflict: natural resource exploitation in the Mediterranean Sea.Continue reading
Addressing the UN General Assembly this September, the minister of foreign affairs of Peru, Óscar Maúrtua, hailed the TPNW’s entry into force as a “great achievement” and “a legal and moral starting point on a long road to achieve nuclear disarmament”.
Peru is the 14th country in Latin America to ratify the TPNW, following Mexico, Cuba, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Uruguay, El Salvador, Panama, Bolivia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Honduras, and Chile. An additional four countries in the region have signed but not yet ratified the treaty: Brazil, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, and Guatemala.
Gisela Luján Andrade, Peruvian member of the Human Security Network for Latin America and the Caribbean (SEHLAC), an ICAN partner organisation, warmly welcomed Peru’s ratification.Continue reading
With a bold and completely self-sabotaging diplomatic blunder, one which fails on every level including the least rigorous sanity test, this past Wednesday the U.S. was one of two nations to vote against a UN resolution designed to discourage the glorification and promotion of Nazi ideology. The other nation was Ukraine, which currently is overrun and effectively ruled by Jew-hating, Russia-hating, LGBT-hating neo-Nazis, who openly flaunt their allegiance to Stepan Bandera, a collaborator with the Third Reich during WWII.
The reason the U.S. supports such Jew-hating, Russia-hating thugs is obvious. It’s an effective way to intimidate Russia and initiate a proxy war.Continue reading
The UN World Food Program’s (WFP) suspension of food aid to Dessie and Kombolcha after the liberation of these two strategically important cities in the war-torn northern Ethiopian state, Amhara, is a “travesty of the highest degree”, said Horn of Africa TV’s editor, Elias Amare.
The UN has cited as its reason the looting of WFP’s warehouses and the intimidation of its staff in these cities by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). The TPLF started the war by attacking a federal army base in Tigray in November 2020, and subsequently invaded the neighboring states of Amhara and Afar in July 2021.
However, the UN’s decision to suspend aid to the two cities came after the TPLF was pushed out of it by the joint force of the national army and Amharan militias.Continue reading
Writing these words during the Thanksgiving “celebration” is sadly ironic as it illustrates the contradictions of a culture that has yet to reconcile itself with its colonial and white supremacist ideologies, past and present. Despite many criticisms, white supremacy remains not only well and strong, but is also recognized and hailed by the United States on the world stage as an acceptable and legitimate ideology.
Recently, Ben Norton , journalist at the Grayzone, reported, as others have occasionally done since 2004, on the refusal of the United States to vote to approve a UN resolution against the glorification of Nazism, racism and xenophobia. Indeed, in December 2020 and again in November of this year, the UN General Assembly voted on the Resolution…Continue reading
When we consider the current ecological threat to the earth and its inhabitants, we cannot forget the outsized place of war and empire in exacerbating climate change and enabling environmental catastrophe. The ongoing United Nations occupation of Haiti provides an example. As does the introduction of a cholera epidemic by UN soldiers. Cholera is an extension of the totality of violence – material, political, and ecological – enacted by a presumably humanitarian peacekeeping mission.Continue reading
Geneva – An international coalition of human rights law groups, public health experts, and civil society organizations is taking legal action against the US, UK, Germany, Norway, and Switzerland, on the grounds that these countries are in violation of international human rights law by failing to intervene on what has been an inequitable and racially discriminatory roll-out of the vaccine and other COVID healthcare technologies.
In an appeal to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), the coalition charges that by failing to lift intellectual property barriers on all COVID-19 medical technologies through a TRIPS waiver (or to effectively implement it through technology transfers), the US, UK, Germany, Norway, and Switzerland are in violation of the International Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, a human rights convention ratified by nearly all countries in the world.Continue reading
When I walked through the doors of the Shabazz Center for the Spirit of Mandela Tribunal that took place on October 22-25th, I was not greeted by police or any other capitalist/white supremacist security force. Instead, after checking in, I was greeted by brothers that felt like my dad, like my uncles, like my high school track coach or my barber. These men were the Zulu Warriors, brothers who had made the trek from Atlanta to Washington Heights to protect this sacred space for the weekend. Brothers who came to offer protection to the house that Betty Shabazz built, while those who strive to continue her husbands legacy worked upstairs to follow through on the mission of charging the US, once again, with genocide against it’s African and Indigneous captive nations.Continue reading
To many following the decades-long journey of the United Nations climate negotiations, the 26th Conference of the Parties beginning Monday in Glasgow, Scotland looks like one of the last chances to steer the planet away from the fiery wreck that warming of 2 to 3 degrees Celsius will bring. The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change confirms that the climate is still heading that way, with no way to change course other than reducing the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
That warning was reinforced last week by a report from International Red Cross and Red Crescent societies showing that, in 2020, climate extremes like floods, wildfires, heatwaves and droughts accounted for almost all of the 30.7 billion people displaced by disasters.Continue reading