Thursday, April 28, 2011

Obama Administration Has Not Designated a Single Violator Under Int’l Religious Freedom Act

Despite the strong urging of Washington’s religious rights watchdog, the Obama administration has not designated a single “country of particular concern” (CPC) for religious freedom violations since taking office 27 months ago. Read

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

After Years of Engagement With Syria, U.S. Now Considering Sanctions (Timeline)

As Syria’s violent crackdown on protesters takes a growing toll, the U.S. State Department on Tuesday defended the decision to keep the U.S. Embassy in Damascus open, while declining to question President Bashar Assad’s legitimacy. Read

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Egyptians Cool Toward U.S.; Want to Scrap Peace Treaty With Israel

A new survey of Egyptians’ attitudes two months after President Hosni Mubarak’s departure depicts a society in which the Muslim Brotherhood is broadly popular, the United States is not, and more than half the country would like to scrap Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel. Read

Monday, April 25, 2011

Obama Administration’s Policy of Engaging Syria Comes Under Fire

The Obama administration is facing growing calls to respond firmly to the bloodshed in Syria, as lawmakers from both parties call for a response beyond the issuing of statements condemning the deadly clampdown. Read

Friday, April 22, 2011

Arab Human Rights Groups See Hypocrisy in Arab League’s Support for Syria

Arab human rights groups on Thursday accused the Arab League of “double standards and selectivity” for backing Syria’s bid to join the U.N. Human Rights Council just weeks after urging Libya’s suspension from the same body. Read

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Almost 10 Years After 9/11, U.N. Still Grappling to Define Terrorism

As the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks approaches, the United Nations is no closer to reaching a universal definition of terrorism than it was in 2001 – or indeed than it was five years before then, when negotiations first began on drafting a comprehensive convention on international terrorism. Read

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Nigerian Christians Bear the Brunt of Post-Election Violence

The violence that erupted across northern Nigeria’s shari’a belt following the re-election of President Goodluck Jonathan, a Christian southerner, is taking a deadly toll on Christians, according to religious freedom advocates. Read

Smallest Contributors to U.N. Resist Calls to Reduce Budget

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s recent call to reduce the United Nations’ operating budget for 2012-13 by three percent reportedly is drawing resistance from the bloc of developing countries, which dominate the world body. Read

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Obama Administration Finally Fills U.N. Reform Post

The Obama administration’s long-stated desire to prioritize reform at the United Nations finally has a full-time face: The U.S. Senate on Thursday confirmed Joseph Torsella as permanent representative for U.N. management and reform, an ambassador-level post. Read

Syria Tells U.N. Why It Should Sit on Human Rights Council

As the death toll climbs in Syria’s crackdown on anti-government protests, President Bashar Assad’s government is making a pitch for a seat on the U.N.’s top human rights body. The Assad regime said it assigns the “highest importance” to the promotion and protection of human rights. Read

Monday, April 18, 2011

Election in Africa’s Top Oil Producer Reflects Muslim-Christian Divide

Voters in Nigeria appear to have handed a four-year term to President Goodluck Jonathan, in an election result underlining the deep north-south, Muslim-Christian divide in Africa’s most populous country. Read

Independence Day in Syria Brings More Bloodshed

As Syrians marked their country’s independence day on Sunday, continuing anti-regime protests and the government’s violent response suggest that a series of concessions offered by President Bashar Assad will not easily defuse the escalating crisis. Read

Friday, April 15, 2011

Palestinians Buoyed by ‘Birth Certificate’ for Independent State

Forty-seven years after it was established with the goal of replacing Israel with an Arab state through “armed struggle,” the Palestine Liberation Organization is edging closer to achieving independence on at least some of the territory it claims. Read

For Iran and Its State Media, Syrian Unrest Is Either a Non-Issue or a Foreign Plot

Iran officials and state media continue to ignore, downplay, or see conspiracies behind the anti-government protests and violent clampdown in Syria, in sharp contrast to their response to unrest elsewhere in the Arab world. Read

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Reduction in U.S. Funding for U.N. in Budget Deal is Small Compared With Total U.S. Contribution

The federal budget agreement headed for a House vote Thursday lops $304 million off the amount the administration requested for the U.S. contributions to the United Nations, but that is less than five percent of the total amount American taxpayers shelled out for the U.N. in 2009. Read

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Top Military Officer Cites ‘Global Threat’ Posed by Pakistan-Based Jihadist Group

As the Obama administration seeks “renewal” in its strained relationship with Pakistan, a top U.S. military officer warned Tuesday of the growing threat of a Pakistan-based terrorist group that has declared “jihad” on America and is carrying out attacks on coalition forces in Afghanistan. Read

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

China Cites 16-Year-Old Domestic Violence Survey to Criticize U.S. Human Rights

In its annual rejoinder to the State Department’s report on human rights in China, Beijing’s communist government states that “one in four women [in the U.S.] is a victim of domestic violence.” Read

Monday, April 11, 2011

Arab Regimes Want ‘No-Fly’ Zone Over Gaza, But Silent on Bloodshed in Syria

An Arab League decision on Sunday to urge the U.N. Security Council to enforce a “no-fly” zone over the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip stands in sharp contrast to its silence on the situation in Syria, where rights groups say more than 170 people have been killed in anti-government unrest since mid-March, at least 37 of them since Friday. Read

Hillary Clinton to Address U.S.-Islamic Gathering in Washington

At a time of dramatic change in the Arab world, senior figures from more than 30 Arab and other Muslim-majority countries will be in Washington, D.C., this week for the annual U.S.-Islamic World Forum, the first to be held in the United States. Read

Friday, April 08, 2011

Sudan, Allied With Hamas and Iran, Blames Israel for Mystery Air Strike

Israel maintained its customary ambiguity Thursday in response to Sudanese accusations that it was responsible for an air strike near its Red Sea coast this week. The attack follows a string of covert incidents that share one characteristic – all are linked to the smuggling of Iranian-sourced weapons into the Gaza Strip. Read

Credibility Gap: Syria May Win Seat on U.N. Human Rights Council

At a time when the Obama administration faces Republican calls to cut United Nations funding and withdraw from the Human Rights Council, a looming election reinforces one of the key criticisms of the council – the presence among its members of countries with poor human rights records. Read

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Kyoto Protocol’s Days May be Numbered

s the Kyoto Protocol’s 2012 expiration date draws closer, U.N. climate negotiations underway in Bangkok this week appear no closer to reaching an agreement that would extend or replace it. Read

Without Reforms, U.S. Funding for U.N. ‘Will Be in Jeopardy,’ Republicans Warn Obama

The battle over funding for the United Nations is heating up in Congress, as U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon each visited Capitol Hill this week, pressing the U.N.’s biggest contributor to pay up, in full and on time. Read

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Turkey Offers to Mediate Between Iran and Arab Gulf States Over Bahrain Crisis

Turkey’s foreign minister visited Bahrain on Tuesday but did not publicly voice support for the small Gulf nation’s decision last month to invite troops from Saudi Arabia and other neighbors to help restore stability. Read

As Obama Calls Mideast Peace ‘Urgent,’ Others Say Israel Should Not be Pushed to Relinquish Territory

President Obama’s assertion Tuesday that turmoil in the Arab world makes it more urgent to seek an Israeli-Palestinian peace settlement is precisely the opposite of what some experts are saying – that the uncertainty arising from the upheaval makes it even more important for Israel not to surrender territory vital to its security. Read

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Seven-Year Prison Term for Dissident Seen As Show of Leniency in Vietnam

A Vietnamese court characterized a decision to jail a prominent pro-democracy dissident for seven years as a lenient sentence reflecting the fact the convicted man is the son of a communist stalwart. Read

Judge’s Retraction Could Unravel Campaign to Send Israel to International Court

A judge’s startling retraction of the most damaging aspects of a U.N. report he authored accusing Israel of war crimes could begin the unraveling of a process that the Palestinian Authority had hoped would land Israel before the International Criminal Court. Read

Monday, April 04, 2011

Pakistan Stoked Anger About Qur’an-Burning Incident

The news that a small Florida church burned a copy of the Qur’an on March 20 went virtually unreported in most of the world – with Pakistan the chief exception – until the eruption of violence in Afghanistan on Friday. Read

Friday, April 01, 2011

‘Defection’ of Top Libyan Raises Hopes for Delayed Justice in Lockerbie Case

From investigators and lawmakers to transatlantic relatives of the victims of the worst terrorist attack in British history, many people are hoping that the “defection” to Britain this week of the former Libyan foreign minister will lead to long-delayed justice in the Lockerbie case. Read