The voice of communities involved in illicit cultivation had long been excluded from policymaking platforms. However, thanks to growing networks such as the Myanmar Opium Farmers Forum, more and more farmers have gained more space to provide input to drug policy discussions at the UN level.
A treaty on transnational corporations (TNCs) and human rights moved a step closer during the latest meeting of the UN working group on human rights and transnational corporations, despite challenges from the EU and the US.
Despite the track record of systemic and systematic violations of the range of human rights, the efforts to establish legally binding obligations and an instrument of enforcement within the UN system have been defeated by determined corporate opposition. The current Guiding Principles developed by the former Special Representative of the UN Secretary General, John Ruggie, do not create "any new international legal obligations" and are therefore non-binding.
The debate about the role of NATO in Ukraine is starting too late: Western leaders already made a fatal decision to back the new Kiev government no matter what it is doing and no matter what the real situation is on the ground.
The threat of a reckless, dangerous, and illegal US or US-led assault on Syria is looking closer than ever. However any attack will not protect civilians—it will mean taking sides once again in a bloody, complicated civil war.
The U.S. is 11 years into its current war in Afghanistan and still losing. We never had a chance to "win" this war of vengeance – and while few in Washington are ready to admit that, they’ve continued to revise and redefine just what "winning" might look like.
Debate over the 10-year-plus war in Afghanistan tends to focus on how and when it "can be won," obscuring the fundamental question of whether it was morally acceptable in the first place. Now as the US gets closer to consolidating its imperial presence in the region for decades to come, the high cost to the Afghani people continues to be ignored.
John Ruggie's proposed guidelines to the UN on Human Rights and Transnational Corporations fail to bring TNCs under any binding law, thefore enabling human rights and environmental crimes to continue with impunity.
Recent plans to cut funds for the UN's water related work - meaning support for water operator partnership (WOP) alliances would be lost - is a major threat to the great progress which has already been achieved and threatens to undermine the provision of universal access to clean public water.
Instead of focusing on the motives of the US and NATO, the opposition to the Libyan bombings needs to focus on the likely outcomes. Afghanistan and Iraq taught us there is still no way to bomb a country into democracy.
Renewed U.S. efforts to bring sanctions against Iran are more backlash for being snubbed in favour of a tripartite deal with Turkey and Brazil than they are about nuclear proliferation. A UN Security Council coalition may be able to block U.S. pressure for sanctions that would only punish Iranian civilians.