The Lid is On


Giving voice to Yemen’s voiceless: Jamie McGoldrick reflects on two years in charge of the UN’s humanitarian effort

This year’s UN Response Plan for Yemen, describes the war-torn country as “the worst man-made humanitarian crisis” in the world, with more than 22 million people – around three-quarters of the total population – in need of help.

Over the past few years, it’s the voice of Humanitarian Coordinator Jamie McGoldrick, that has been drawing the world’s attention the most loudly, and the most often, to Yemen’s plight.

UN News/Matt Wells

Podcast: UN “will save the world”: still passionate for peace at 90

He was one of the UN’s very first staff members, and 72 years on, Robert Kaminker is still advocating for peace and the power of the organization to ultimately “save the world”.

Although he retired in the early 1980s, his enthusiasm for explaining how the UN works and can help people everywhere lead better lives, never waned.

At 90, he is still hosting a weekly radio show in his native France, called “L’ONU vous concerne”, which translates as “The UN Matters”.


Podcast: Peacekeeping and protection in South Sudan

Defending the vulnerable from attack is one of the important duties of a UN peacekeeper, but what do you do when you come across a secret safe that may contain weapons, hidden away in a camp designed to protect civilians?

That’s one of the real-life dilemmas facing a UN police patrol in this latest edition of our podcast series from UN News, The Lid Is On.


Podcast: Surviving sexual slavery - Grizelda’s story

How do you overcome years of sexual slavery, despite scars which will always remain?

Grizelda Grootboom knows the answer, and in September, she joined the Secretary-General at the UN’s main podium, to tell her story.

She came to urge the General Assembly to adopt a Political Declaration to end the scourge of human trafficking, telling delegates that they had to put victims’ needs first.

UN Photo/Mark Garten

Podcast: South Sudan refugee influx threatens Uganda's "open door"

South Sudan has known no respite since fighting broke out last July, following the collapse of a peace deal between the government and opposition forces.

People in Africa’s newest nation have witnessed "barbaric" acts of violence carried out by armed groups, according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), such as the sexual assault of women and girls and the kidnapping of boys for forced drafting.

The number of South Sudan refugees in Uganda has now passed the one million mark.

Kelvin Trautman

Podcast: Lawyer runs 40 marathons to highlight water, sanitation issues

A charity runner who does not particularly enjoy running has completed 40 marathons in 40 days to raise awareness about the global goal of providing all people with clean water and sanitation by 2030.

Mina Guli’s quest spanned six continents where she ran along the banks of six of the world’s major rivers, including the Amazon and the Nile.

UN Photo/Evan Schneider

The power of bearing witness: how rape became an act of genocide

During the genocide in Rwanda in 1994, “rape was as much a tool of genocide as the machete,” the UN special envoy on sexual violence in conflict, Zainab Bangura has said.

Women from the ethnic minority Tutsi group in the African country were “systematically targeted and raped” during that period, investigations by the UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda or ICTR uncovered.


The man who defined genocide: 'The Lid is On' podcast classic

Raphael Lemkin is hardly a household name these days, but back in the 1940s he became the driving force behind what would become The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

An American of Polish-Jewish descent, Lemkin coined the term genocide after dedicating his life to pursuing the international legal means to end the barbarity of mass extermination.