Stories about UN

Six long decades of the Arab-Israeli conflict

It has been more than 60 years now since the start of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Before the start of the First Intifada in 1987, the Palestinians knocked at every door of the international world for someone to address their issue. No one lent an ear. A total of 42 Security Council resolutions were vetoed unilaterally by the United States alone. The Intifada — imbued in shreds of violence and counter-violence both on the part of Arabs and Israelis — made the world realise that there was, indeed, a problem to be addressed in the Middle East. Arafat had to be ...

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Is it time for gay rights in Pakistan?

Earlier this month, for the first time in its history, the United Nations (UN) passed a resolution to protect and uphold gay rights universally. The US Department of State successfully lobbied to bring under the banner of universal declaration of human rights, equal rights for lesbians, gays, and transgender people. The resolution was passed with 23 affirmations against 19 disavowals. While some of us celebrate this momentous turn in attitudes, it is sobering to note that it took the UN this long to recognise the oppressive violence faced by homosexuals everybody and to finally declare that yes, gays are human ...

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Pneumonia: Killing our babies every day

During the 1970s the world woke up to the realization that there was a deadly assailant on the loose who was out to get little children! So deadly was this assassin that soon people began comparing it to a jumbo jet that took off every one minute and crashed as soon as it went up killing all the 400 passengers onboard. Yes, this vicious murderer was taking the lives of 400 children every minute! After more than 30 years the brutal slayer is still at large and responsible for 19 per cent of all under-5 deaths in the world. Scarily, ...

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Trouble on the development front

While I’ve always been highly sceptical about sweeping indices that rank states on opaque definitions based on broad categories (my thoughts on the “failed states index” can be found here), I do generally consider UN indices to be a bit more interesting. Don’t ask me why, this isn’t based on any well-researched comparison of the UN versus the think tanks; perhaps I’m just an old-school multilateralist and tend to trust the UN a little more than I should. The UN relies on a number of international agencies for its data, making it incredibly difficult to meaningfully analyse the way ...

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An open letter to Barack Obama

Dear President Obama, Hope you’re doing well. America seems to be on its way to progress. You took some bold steps in Afghanistan in the war on terror and supported Middle Eastern countries in their stance against Israel. Although it may be surprising coming from a Pakistani, I write to you with reference to your favouritism towards Israel. When you were elected I was told by many of my friends that you were not different from previous administrators, but I kept my faith in you. Now, I see that you continue to be a slave to US policy, just like previous presidents. With ...

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Israel’s weak debate

The ongoing stalemate in Middle East peace talks has led to another op-ed in the New York Times by Michael Oren, Israel’s Ambassador to the US. As is often the case with Oren’s op-eds, the piece is full of weak arguments, hyperbole and hypocrisy. The introduction sets the tone for the entire piece: Nearly 63 years after the United Nations recognized the right of the Jewish people to independence in their homeland — and more than 62 years since Israel’s creation — the Palestinians are still denying the Jewish nature of the state. This, like the entire article, tries to oversimplify an incredibly ...

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Are you going to pig out today?

One billion people are hungry and I am so angry! Next time you are having your favorite meal at a restaurant, remember that 1 billion people around the world are facing chronic hunger. When we eat more than we need, we are making someone, somewhere starve. The plate is half empty It is extremely heart rending to know that more than 18 million out of 1 billion figure belong to our own country. Half of our country’s population is facing food insecurity. Can we even imagine how that feels? I felt sorry for such people before, but the recent flood has bought who ...

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Why the MDG summit is important for Pakistan

The three-day high level moot of world leaders to evaluate the work that has so far been put into achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) has entered into its last day at New York. The MDG summit primarily aims to accelerate the progress towards the MDGs by 2015, taking into account the progress made towards the internationally agreed development goals. The summit is expected to undertake a comprehensive review of successes, best practices and lessons learned, obstacles and gaps, challenges and opportunities, leading to concrete strategies for action. The meeting holds immense meaning for Pakistan for reasons that are more than ...

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How far away is the next Israel-Lebanon war?

This is a question that has been discussed for years, arguably since the last open conflict in 2006 ended in an Israeli withdrawal and an expanded UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon) mandate to keep peace in the southern part of the country. That conflict may have ended but its after-effects linger on. Long after the cluster munitions fired from both sides settled into the earth, many of them remain unexploded and continue to kill civilians. Long after the withdrawal, the near-universal consensus that Israel was not the clear ‘winner’ it intended to be and the Winograd Commission’s ...

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Pakistan’s unhealthy focus on US, UK, India

Pop quiz: do you know Pakistan’s Ambassador to Chile, Malaysia, Venezuela, Brazil, or Russia? It is very likely that you don’t and, there is a reason – these countries don’t get adequate visibility in Pakistan. Hussain Haqqani (USA), Wajid Shamsul Hassan (UK) and, Shahid Malik (India) are the few ambassadors that Pakistani media finds relevant, relegating all others to secondary and tertiary positions. Every country has their list of top 10, top 25, top 50, and “rest of the world” often referred to in international parlance as “ROW” but Pakistan’s foreign policy lacks depth and width. At the United Nations in New York, ...

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