On Tuesday September 19, the opening day of the United Nations General Assembly, anti-imperialist activists rallied outside the UN Headquarters in New York City to demand that France end its imperialist meddling in West Africa and the Sahel. Organizers with the Party for Socialism and Liberation, the December 12th Movement, Bridging Africa and Black America, and others denounced the neocolonial policies of the European nation and voiced solidarity and support to Burkina Faso, Mali, Guinea, and Niger, which recently underwent coups opposing French neocolonialism. Activists demanded that France end its neocolonial exploits in the Sahel, principally Niger.
New Oil Change International research shows that only 20 countries, led overwhelmingly by the United States, are responsible for nearly 90 percent of the carbon-dioxide (CO2) pollution threatened by new oil and gas fields and fracking wells planned between 2023 and 2050. If this oil and gas expansion is allowed to proceed, it would lock in climate chaos and an unlivable future.
Last week, the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP) issued a study two years in the making: The Legality of the Israeli Occupation of the Occupied Territories, Including East Jerusalem. Committee Chair Ambassador Cheikh Niang introduced the study commissioned by the CEIRPP and prepared by the Irish Human Rights Centre of the National University of Ireland in Galway. Niang said, “The relevance and urgency of this study cannot be overstated… It is incumbent upon us, the international community, to deepen our understanding of the legal issues raised by this prolonged occupation and its profound impact on human rights, peace, and stability in the region.”
On Monday, September 4, Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, member of Yemen’s Supreme Political Council, criticized the World Food Programme’s (WFP) decision to scale back its aid program in the country. He termed it part of the US attempts to continue the humanitarian crisis there. Earlier, the WFP had stated that due to lack of funds, it will be forced to cut the size of its aid program in Yemen from September. Al-Houthi met with WFP’s Middle East and North Africa director, Corinne Fleischer, and claimed that the UN has failed to carry out the humanitarian program in Yemen which faces what is considered to be one of the worst humanitarian crises ever.
It is no secret that United Nations mediation is in a state of decline. The U.N. is no longer in the lead role in conflict countries where the secretary-general and his representatives or special envoys are mandated to provide mediation and good offices. In most of these conflicts, powerful members of the Security Council, regional and subregional organizations are taking the lead, pushing the U.N. to the sidelines. The only two conflicts where the U.N. is still clearly in the lead are Cyprus and Western Sahara, and, in both countries, it has failed for decades to make any progress.
The United Nations Child Rights Committee has published new guidance on the rights of children in relation to the environment with a particular emphasis on climate change. The UN’s direction on the matter sets forth specific administrative measures nation-states should implement in order to tackle how climate change and humans’ degradation of the environment are affecting children’s rights of enjoyment, as well as to ensure a clean and sustainable planet for current and future generations, a press release from the UN said. The UN Committee adopted its guidance, officially General Comment No. 26, following consultation with national human rights institutions, nations, international organizations, experts, civil society and children.
On August 17, 2023, Danny Haiphong spoke to spoke the latest convening of the United Nations Security Council on the dangers that Western arms to Ukraine poses to international peace and stability. He said, "Today I am here as a journalist who has dedicated the last ten years of my life writing about and speaking out against the long record of human rights abuses and war crimes committed by my country of birth, the United States. I don't consider this a hobby or even a profession but rather a duty to all of humanity and those who want to see a better and more peaceful future. I am here to as a US citizen who has witnessed tens of billions of US tax dollars go to funding and arming a proxy war against Russia while people in the US, ordinary people, suffer from rising levels of poverty, homelessness, suicide and economic insecurity."
On 20 July, the United Nations (UN) released a document called A New Agenda for Peace. In the opening section of the report, UN Secretary-General António Guterres made some remarks that bear close reflection: We are now at an inflection point. The post-Cold War period is over. A transition is under way to a new global order. While its contours remain to be defined, leaders around the world have referred to multipolarity as one of its defining traits. In this moment of transition, power dynamics have become increasingly fragmented as new poles of influence emerge, new economic blocs form and axes of contestation are redefined.
Life-saving humanitarian coordination software used by the UN’s emergency response network was blocked in Syria after February’s devastating earthquake because of US sanctions, Middle East Eye (MEE) reported on 28 July. The online system is also inaccessible in Iran, which has suffered from devastating earthquakes in the past, and where the rapid coordinated deployment of search and rescue teams may prove crucial to save people trapped under rubble after an earthquake in the future. The 6 February earthquake killed tens of thousands of people across hundreds of kilometers of southern Turkiye and northern Syria, but thousands of people were also saved from collapsed buildings by search and rescue teams.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) held its annual summit on 11–12 July in Vilnius, Lithuania. The communiqué released after the first day’s proceedings claimed that ‘NATO is a defensive alliance’, a statement that encapsulates why many struggle to grasp its true essence. A look at the latest military spending figures shows, to the contrary, that NATO countries, and countries closely allied to NATO, account for nearly three-quarters of the total annual global expenditure on weapons. Many of these countries possess state-of-the-art weapons systems, which are qualitatively more destructive than those held by the militaries of most non-NATO countries.
The US and Canada have been arguing for a multilateral military intervention in Haiti led by the army of a third country, possibly even Rwanda, to support the puppet regime that they installed. They are using “gang violence” as the racist excuse, but there are actually more gang killings in Jamaica. In fact, the people of Haiti have been protesting in the streets to get the UN and the Core Group out of Haiti and get the US to stop supporting the illegitimate, unelected prime minister, Ariel Henry. I spoke to Haiti Action Committee activist Seth Donnelly, a public school teacher who has traveled to Haiti over 20 times since the 2004 coup that removed President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
The Black Alliance for Peace (BAP) is alarmed that representatives of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) are at the forefront of the call for armed intervention in Haiti calling on Rwanda and Kenya to help lead the charge. Once again the Black Alliance for Peace (BAP) calls on the international community to reject U.S., UN, and CARICOM plans for an armed intervention in Haiti. We have been consistent in our support for Haitian people who view the presence of the United Nations Integrated Office (BINUH) and the Core Group as a foreign occupation. Since 2004, they have suppressed Haiti’s independence and sovereignty.
In June, the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Solutions Network published its Sustainable Development Report 2023, which tracks the progress of the 193 member states towards attaining the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). ‘From 2015 to 2019’, the network wrote, ‘the world made some progress on the SDGs, although this was already vastly insufficient to achieve the goals. Since the outbreak of the pandemic in 2020 and other simultaneous crises, SDG progress has stalled globally’. This development agenda was adopted in 2015, with targets intended to be met by 2030.
Anywhere between 691 million and 783 million people across the globe faced hunger in 2022, according to this year’s State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World report published by five specialized agencies of the UN on Wednesday, July 12. As per the report, even with the mid-range figure of 735 million, around “122 million more people faced hunger in 2022 than in 2019, before the pandemic,” despite the fact that “hunger is no longer on the rise at the global level.” The report records that 9.2% of the world’s population faced chronic hunger in 2022, compared to 7.9% in 2019. The figure is slightly better than 2021 when it stood at 9.3%.