Stories about United Nations

Agony and starvation in the Syrian war

After haunting pictures and stories of starving civilians showed up on international news sites and social media, food and other desperately needed aid were finally allowed into the Syrian town of Madaya on Monday. Yet this should not be a cause for celebration or complacency. The aid convoys and their supplies offer only a respite in the slow-motion agony that is destroying Syria and its people. What is needed, and has long been needed, is an immediate end to the civil war. The obstacles are daunting. But the news coverage, especially the photos of emaciated Madaya residents, is putting a renewed ...

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He Named Me Malala is the story of an ordinary girl who made a tough choice

“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” This bit of wisdom comes from Paulo Coelho, in his bestseller, The Alchemist. The other day when I was watching the film He Named Me Malala, the incredible story of the youngest Noble laureate and activist for education from the Swat district of Pakistan, Coelho’s wise words echoed in my heart. I realised that once an individual decides to stand up with courage and conviction for a great cause, nothing can stop him/her from achieving their goals. One just needs to conquer the fear of failure. He Named Me ...

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Giving Saudi Arabia a vital position on the UN Human Rights Council is like putting Dracula in charge of a blood bank

During my 15 years growing up in Saudi Arabia, there was one tenet I, like most expatriates, strictly abided by. This simple unwritten rule was; minimise your interaction with locals. This is because many, though certainly not all Saudis we encountered, looked upon foreigners as if they were insolent slaves. From interactions in the neighbourhood, workplace, shops, and more, the Saudi disdain for foreigners was pretty clear. With Saudi media towing the Kingdom line, it was only through word of mouth that we learnt of expatriate girls, women, boys, and boyish looking men escaping capture from Saudi groups. These gangs often ...

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Nawaz Sharif’s UNGA Speech: Packing all the right punches in all the right directions

For the past couple of weeks, the slight whiff of Prime Minister (PM) Nawaz Sharif’s possible talking points of his United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) speech cultivated a foreboding rather than being a good premonition. However, surprisingly enough and much to the unexpected delight of his nation, the prime minister proved a lot of people very wrong. In his UNGA speech yesterday, he packed some pretty powerful punches in his less than 20 minutes of total speech time. He not only raised the issues that Pakistanis hoped he would highlight, but went a little beyond them by using just the right combination ...

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The filthy culture of bacha bazi in Afghanistan

The Afghans call this revolting act bacha bazi, and it is exactly what it sounds like. Young boys usually ostracised from villages by their families because they were attacked by a paedophile, wearing flowing colourful outfits clad in bells, dancing in seedy places for older turban wearing bearded Afghan men, only to be sexually assaulted after the contemptible night takes a drug and alcohol fuelled turn. The Guardian stated, “Dressed in a flowing shirt and long, red skirt, with sherwal pants beneath and small silver bells fastened to hands and feet, the dancer stepped across the floor, face hidden behind a ...

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Women’s Excellence Month: The shushing and shaming ends now

No matter how much the world wants to, it cannot sweep women under the carpet, dust off its hands and pretend it never happened. Gender equality is still an issue. But the misogynists would have you believe otherwise. Even though the world has advanced in various fields, human rights seem to be the point where evolution screeches to a halt. I have had my fair share of confrontations with patriarchy. There were times when my strength surprised me. And there were times when I hung my head in resignation. Every woman knows that when she stands in a ring against ...

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1965: You didn’t win the war India, but neither did we, Pakistan

There is no doubt that the 1965 Indo-Pak war over the status of Jammu and Kashmir ended in a United Nations (UN) mandated truce that compelled India to accept the ceasefire on September 21, 1965 while Pakistan agreed to it on September 22, 1965. The Tashkent peace agreement constrained Indian Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri and Pakistani President Ayub Khan to quit all territorial claims and pull back their armies from the disputed terrain to pre-conflict positions by February 25, 1966. Although it is also evident that the conflict was halted with a truce due to the policies of the US and the Soviet Union – who were engaged in the Cold War at ...

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After three Indo-Pak wars, are LoC skirmishes preparing ground for another?

The Line of Control (LoC) which divides Pakistan and Indian-occupied Kashmir has been the primary source of troublesome relations between the two countries. Not being an international border, LoC is a De Facto border agreed upon by India and Pakistan and was previously known as the cease-fire line. The security situation across this region has escalated throughout the years, as India blames Pakistan for exporting terror across the LoC. This has been the case whenever an attack has been carried out in India, or for that fact, in Pakistan as well. An important point to highlight would be that two out of three wars ...

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Unveiling Pakistan, chapter by chapter, page by page

Fear, it’s both a vital gift housed by human nature and an insidious enemy of the human race. On one hand, it whispers warnings and protects us from danger. On the other hand, it has the tendency to dramatise risk, rationalise rumours, glorify assumptions, and conjure terrifying truths in order to fill gaps in knowledge and experience. In this regard, fear often places two hands over our eyes and blinds us from hidden opportunities. It closes the gate on enlightening international relationships, thrilling life experiences and character-building adventures. I recently stared fear in the face and told it to take a ...

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#Justice4Feras: When the US police kills another innocent victim and no one cares

A 20-year-old Muslim graduate of El Camino Real Charter High School, named Feras Morad, was shot dead by the US police last Wednesday for ‘refusing’ to obey the officer’s instructions. Witnesses of the incident reported that the student had been high on ‘magic mushrooms’ for the first time at a party in Long Beach, California. Due to the effects of the drug, Morad jumped through the second floor window which created panic amongst his peers who informed the police out of concern for his safety. Upon arrival, the police tasered him and subsequently, shot him dead. The police stated that he had ...

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