|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Committee on NGOs
20th & 21st Meetings (AM & PM)
Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations Recommends Special Consultative Status
for 11 Entities, Defers Consideration of 40, as Resumed Session Continues
Continuing its resumed 2011 session, the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) recommended special consultative status for 11 entities to the Economic and Social Council, postponing consideration of an additional 40 until answers to the Committee’s outstanding questions were supplied.
General, special or roster status is granted in accordance with such criteria as the applicant’s mandate, governance and financial regime. Organizations enjoying general and special status can attend meetings of the Economic and Social Council and circulate statements, while those with general status can, in addition, address meetings and propose agenda items. Roster-status non-governmental organizations can only attend meetings. Organizations with general and special status must also submit a report every four years.
A spirited dialogue ensued as delegations voiced divergent views on an array of organizations applying for consultative status, many whose goals involved the protection of human rights. Representatives posed probing questions to those NGOs present at the meeting; others would be transmitted in writing.
Questions arose as to the nature and scope of various “rights” being protected by the various organizations. Among those NGOs whose status decision was postponed was the Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights (YCSRR), after several delegations sought further clarification as to the nature of “sexual rights”, as those rights, noted some delegations, were not internationally agreed.
Consideration of the application from the NGO People for Successful COrean REunification (PSCORE) also triggered debate. Venezuela’s representative expressed concern over its stated goals, as she thought its objective seemed to imply “the annexation of another internationally recognized State” by the Republic of Korea. During the exchange on that issue, in particular when a representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea wished to pose its own query, questions again arose about whether or not observer delegations should be permitted to submit questions to an NGO candidate on the Committee’s behalf.
Also today, it was noted that the application of the International Christian Chamber of Commerce, an international organization based in Sweden, was withdrawn.
The Committee will reconvene at 10 a.m. Wednesday, 18 May, to continue its work.
The Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) met this morning to continue its resumed session, to run through Tuesday, 24 May, for which it has before it an information note for participants (document E/C.2/2011/1). (For details about the work of the Committee, see Press Release ECOSOC/6476-NGO/720 of 16 May.)
The Committee today recommended special consultative status for the following organizations:
Peace Family and Media Association, a national organization based in Ethiopia, working to improve the livelihood of marginalized and unprivileged communities in all regions in Ethiopia by facilitating capacity-building awareness dialogue and training for the establishment and enlargement of community radio stations. The organization also aims to build the capacity of media students, as well as community-based information and communications technologies centres to enhance the socio-economic development of underprivileged communities in Ethiopia.
Society for Development and Community Empowerment, a national organization based in Nigeria committed to educating, informing and motivating individuals and society regarding positive inspiration, dispelling human ignorance, ensuring collective and global happiness for the betterment of mankind, contributing to the social and economic well-being and development of families and communities, and supporting the execution of the Millennium Development Goals in the Niger Delta Region, Nigeria, Africa and around the globe.
Association Mondiale de Psychanalyse du Champ Freudien AMP, an international organization based in France, working to promote the dissemination and development of psychoanalysis worldwide, teaching, research, and the continuous updating of psychoanalytic theory and its applications.
Center for Regional Policy Research and Cooperation "Studiorum", a national organization based in The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, is a think tank working on various economic and social aspects of importance for the country and for the South-East Europe region, with a special focus on European Union integration and globalization processes.
Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International e.V., an international organization with headquarters in Germany, aims to connect disadvantaged producers and consumers, promote fairer trading conditions and empower producers to combat poverty, strengthen their position and take more control over their lives.
Helios Life Association, an international organization based in Switzerland, working to improve the quality of human life by helping underprivileged and disadvantaged children and youth by supporting, ensuring and fortifying their educational formation, improving their social, health-related and mental living conditions, and contributing to integrating and reintegrating them into a worthwhile future.
OLPC Foundation, a United States-based international organization that creates educational opportunities for the world's poorest, most isolated, and most vulnerable children by providing each child with a rugged, low-cost, low-power, connected laptop with content and software designed for collaborative, self-empowered learning.
Surfrider Foundation Europe, an international organization based in France, that is dedicated to defending, saving, improving and managing in a sustainable manner the ocean, coastline, waves and people who enjoy them.
Red Mujeres, Desarrollo, Justicia Y Paz AC, a national organization based in Mexico that promotes the human, social and productive aptitudes of women to increase their self-esteem, leadership abilities, and productive and enterprising abilities, as well as a social economy so that women can generate their own income to guarantee individual autonomy and security for their families, and a plenum citizenship to encourage women to occupy positions of decision-making, to maintain continuous dialogue with authorities and to participate in political processes.
The Committee recommended that review of the following applications be postponed:
Association togolaise pour les Nations Unies, a national organization in Togo that promotes information about the United Nations and the Millennium Development Goals.
The representative of Venezuela said that she was not clear about the difference between the organization’s income and expenses, as shown in its financial statement, and needed to better understand its financial status.
The Committee Chair stated that the Committee would send the questions to the organization once again so that it could further elaborate on the answers.
Corporacion Excelencia en la Justicia, a national organization based in Colombia that aims to promote excellence in justice and fundamental cultural and institutional change that satisfies the collective desire for timely and thorough justice for all Colombians. The organization rallies citizens and organizations, so that they may have a voice and exercise control, support, and citizen action on justice issues.
The representative of Venezuela asked for further information about the organization’s classification and whether it was registered as an NGO, as it seemed to be paying taxes.
The representative of Cuba also requested further clarification on how the NGO was financed.
The Committee Chair stated that the Committee would send the questions to the organization once again so that it could further elaborate on the answers.
The Committee Chair then noted that the application of the General Forum of the Arabic and African Non-Governmental Organizations, a national organization based in Libyathat aims to build and consolidate the African Union through social, economic and cultural activities so as to ensure progress and prosperity for the region, would be deferred because the NGO had not yet answered the questions put to it.
The Committee Chair also noted that International Services Association, a national organization based in India with the mission of sustainable health and development for vulnerable communities, would be deferred, pending responses to the Committee’s questions.
Isfahan Association for Protection of Human Rights, a national organization based in Iran, aims to protect and promote human rights, including through awareness and research.
The representative of Venezuela asked what the NGO had achieved in terms of implementing the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.
The Committee Chair said that this question would be transmitted to the NGO.
Manavata, an international organization based in India, but with offices in the United Kingdom, the United States and Austria, aims to create and promote a “Healthy, Happy and Harmonious (3H) world”, where there is no hate and where the mind is without fear.
The representative of Pakistan said that the NGO claimed international status and membership in three countries; however, he asked for clarification regarding the organization’s limited funding of $20,000 and low expenditure of only $2,330; and for any successful case studies about the organization’s projects in other countries.
The Committee Chair said that the questions would be transmitted to the NGO.
Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine, a United States-based international organization dedicated to the promotion, protection and support of breastfeeding and human lactation.
The representative of China stated that, in informal discussions, the delegation had asked the NGO to correct its terminology regarding China and Hong Kong and that it had fixed one reference, but other corrections were still needed on the organization’s website.
The Committee Chair said that this request would be transmitted to the NGO.
Afghan Poverty Relief, an international organization based in London, aims to build a sustainable and strong Afghanistan where all of the basic needs of life — water, food, education, health and shelter — were available to all segments of the society.
The representative of Pakistan, first, asked the Secretariat what had been the practice in the past regarding granting status to charities, given that the organization’s application noted that most of its activities were of a charitable nature and that it called itself a charity. Second, he asked for clarification regarding why the NGO was registered as a charity in the United Kingdom, but had a certificate of registration in Afghanistan as an NGO, as well as why it called itself international but presently had no members in any other country.
Chief of the NGO Branch of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs ANDREI ABRAMOV explained that the Committee had given status to charities on many occasions and that there were charities working on the basis of consultative status, which had made significant contributions to United Nations issues and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.
The Committee Chair stated that the representative’s additional questions would be transmitted to the NGO.
AIDS Accountability International, an international organization based in Stockholm, Sweden, working to improve national and global responses to AIDS by empowering advocacy efforts for stronger leadership in government and society, and to hold leaders accountable for their commitments by developing ratings and other policy-relevant research that will increase the political leverage of advocacy efforts for accountability, stronger leadership and more effective responses to AIDS.
The representative of the Russian Federation said that a significant part of the NGO’s work involved rating Governments and States in terms of how effective they were in implementing AIDS-related work, and asked what methodology was used for that assessment.
The representative of Pakistan asked whether the organization considered itself to be international since it was not working in any other country. The delegate also asked for clarification on the ranking system and for an elaboration about the organization’s aims to promote the inclusion of vulnerable groups in policy-making.
The representative of Morocco asked if the NGO could elaborate on its assessment processes, as well as its aim to establish indicators for AIDS governance. He also asked for a clarification about what was meant by the NGO’s reference to “sexual diversity”. Those questions would be transferred to the organization.
alpesandes.org, an international organization based in Switzerland created to encourage the economic development of rural and urban communities in the developing world through increased economic activity and “environmental friendliness”; to promote the development of computer programs using new and “open source” technology to help other NGOs and development assistance organizations; to develop a working awareness of the condition of animals; and to promote research and development for new forms of energy.
The representative of Peru asked the organization to elaborate on its proposed activities in that country, specifically regarding a distribution of technology agreement.
Consideration of this NGO would be postponed until it was able to answer all questions.
American Council for World Jewry, Inc., a United States-based international organization created to bring an American voice of support to Jewish communities and a Jewish perspective to Governments and institutions, and to build bridges with other communities and areas, particularly in the Muslim world. Consideration of this NGO would be postponed until it was able to answer all questions.
Architects for Peace Inc., an international organization based in Australia serving as an independent multidisciplinary forum of planners, architects, urban designers, landscape architects, engineers, environmentalists and artists working in the public domain, seeking sustainable urban development based on social justice, solidarity, respect and peace. Consideration of this NGO would be postponed until it was able to answer all questions.
Asóciacion de Amigos de las Naciones Unidas, a national Spain-based organization created to act as a bridge among the United Nations, the Spanish Government institutions and civil society, and to promote and defend the principles contained in the Charter of the United Nations at the local, regional and national level.
Remarking on the organization’s inclusion of Tibet on a list of unresolved crisis situations, the representative of China asked the NGO to define the end of a crisis situation, and whether it had “carried out some political issues”, particularly with regard to Member States’ internal affairs.
The representative of the Russian Federation asked what the organization meant by referring to Chechnya as an “international conflict”, as well as a “forgotten conflict”, and if there was a possibility of examining the relevant dossiers, via the Internet or in printed form.
Cuba’s representative further asked, as an organization using United Nations simulation models, what other United Nations associations they worked with. Those questions would be transmitted to the NGO.
Association Graines de Paix, a Geneva-based national organization, meaning “Seeds of Peace”, working to promote peace education and intercultural peace through the development of tools and educational activities in order to promote peaceful relations and prevent violence. Consideration of this NGO would be postponed until it was able to answer all questions.
Asylum Access, a United States-based international organization working to empower refugees in Africa, Asia and Latin America to assert their human rights through legal aid, strategic litigation, policy advocacy and community education and to create effective, lasting solutions for refugees around the world.
The representatives of Venezuela and Israel asked for clarification regarding a financial discrepancy that appeared in the application versus the answer supplied, and Cuba’s representative asked for the criteria used to select the NGO’s list of potential countries in which it would operate. Those questions would be transmitted to the organization.
AUA Americas Chapter Inc., a national organization based in Washington, D.C., created to increase public awareness and understanding of the Assyrian culture and people, to promote human rights and indigenous rights, and to provide charitable services to persons of Assyrian descent. Consideration was postponed until the NGO was able to answer all questions.
British Overseas NGOs for Development (BOND), a national organization based in the United Kingdom working to encourage its member organizations to work more closely with the United Nations and focus their advocacy efforts on international development related United Nations processes. Consideration of this organization was postponed until the Committee received responses to its questions.
Captive Daughters, a United States-based international organization, aims to mobilize the global will to end the sex trafficking of women and children through the creation, use and distribution of educational and creative media to the general public.
The representative of China said that the NGO had submitted an application in 2005, but had been turned down because it did not have enough activities, so the delegation wished to know who turned down the NGO and whether a decision had been made to close the case.
The representative of Pakistan also asked for further substantive information regarding how the NGO would contribute to the Economic and Social Council’s work, other than its stated plans to present its conferences on YouTube or disseminate its activities through its website.
The Committee Chair stated that the questions would be transmitted to the NGO, and added that the NGO Branch would check the archives regarding the organization’s application in 2005.
The Committee Chair then noted that consideration of Clean Up Australia Limited, a national, environmental organization with the aim of helping communities clean up, fix up and conserve the environment, would be deferred because the Committee was awaiting responses from a previous query.
Earth Day Network, Inc., a United States-based international organization, aims to broaden and diversify the environmental movement worldwide and to mobilize it as the most effective vehicle for promoting a healthy, sustainable environment.
The representative of China asked whether the NGO, which had stated that it was a loose network of thousands of organizations, was accountable for all its member organizations and whether it would share its status with them all.
The Committee Chair said that the question would be transmitted to the NGO.
GAiN International, a United States-based international organization created to address tangible needs in areas of poverty and despair and provide hope through “loving outreach” via the provision of food, clothing, medical supplies, educational assistance, and social services through local and indigenous partners around the world, and empower local NGOs and other partners in meeting people’s holistic needs — physical, emotional, social, and spiritual. Consideration of this organization was postponed until the Committee received responses to its questions.
Grupo Intercultural Almaciga, an international Spain-based organization, working to promote and conserve cultural diversity through the provision of support to indigenous peoples own political, economic and social processes, as well as to further the recognition, promotion and effective implementation of the individual and collective rights of indigenous peoples and local communities.
The representatives of Venezuela and Spain recommended granting consultative status, citing its highly valued projects in Latin America, which they said would contribute positively to the work of the Economic and Social Council. However, the representative of Peru asked the organization to elaborate on what, if any, projects it had planned for Peru. He also asked for clarification on the type of support it provided or intended to provide to the indigenous peoples of Peru, and whether that would be offered in association with local organizations, as well as whether any projects in Peru were duly registered. Those questions would be transmitted to the NGO.
International Association of Genocide Scholars, Inc., an international organization based in Ireland, working to further research and teaching about the nature, causes, and consequences of genocide, and advance policy studies on prevention of genocide.
The representative of Turkey asked the NGO to clarify the nationality of its members, and also how the NGO defined the term “scholar”. Those questions would be put to the organization.
International Christian Chamber of Commerce, an international organization based in Sweden, stimulates the development of members’ businesses and services and undertakes important national and international projects that have as their object the extension of the Kingdom of God and the rendering of support to various national and international organizations.
The representative of China noted that the NGO asked for withdrawal of its application on 10 May and that the NGO’s Board of Directors said that it had decided not to pursue consultative status at this time.
The Committee Chair said that the application would be withdrawn.
International Covenant for the Protection of Journalists (ICPJ), an international organization established in Geneva, Switzerland, mobilizes the ideas concerning the protection for journalists through working on an international protection media convention, as well as assisting media organizations and individual journalists under threat via invitations to Geneva, meetings with officials, press conferences and side events to mobilize that important issue.
The representative of China asked for further clarification about why the NGO called itself an international organization and whether it carried out any kind of field work.
The representative of the Russian Federation sought further clarification about what the NGO meant when it said it specialized in “international humanitarian rights law”, which seemed to be a hybrid of human rights law and international humanitarian law.
The representative of Cuba noted that her delegation had asked two questions of the NGO, but that the answers had not been given, so the delegation would like to put those questions once again to the NGO, since there should be an open exchange with organizations seeking consultative status.
The Committee Chair stated that the questions would be transmitted to the NGO and the Committee would be notified when the answers were received.
International Partnership for Human Rights is a national, Brussels-based organization committed to promoting human rights worldwide, which acts to empower local civil society groups working on behalf of human rights in different countries and assist them in making their concerns heard at the international level. In cooperation with other human-rights NGOs, the organization also acts to advance the rights of vulnerable communities that are subjected to discrimination and abuse in different parts of the world, through monitoring, reporting, awareness-raising, capacity-building and national and international advocacy.
The representative of China expressed concern that the NGO had attended a universal periodic review session and reminded it that that was not appropriate, no matter who it had borrowed the status from for the meeting. The representative also asked what kind of contributions the NGO had made in that review session, whether it had ever joined the Human Rights Council, and what activities it had carried out.
The representative of the Russian Federation asked for further information about projects being planned in his country and the Caucasus, as the NGO had referenced future human rights projects in Central Asia, Russian Federation, Belarus, the Caucasus, the Persian Gulf, China, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Palestine.
The representative of Cuba also asked for further information about what countries and regions the NGO was working in, as they had mentioned some countries but possibly not all.
The Committee Chair said the questions would be transmitted to the NGO.
Internationale Organisation F¸r Volkskunst (IOV), an international organization based in Austria, works to document, preserve and promote all forms of folk art and believes that the possibilities for world peace are improved when people understand each others' traditions, as expressed through folk art and folk culture.
The representative of China said the delegation had asked a question regarding the NGO’s activities in China and Cuba, but that it had not been answered in the questionnaire; the delegation wished to resubmit the question.
The representative of Venezuela asked for more information, in addition to what the NGO had already provided, regarding its projects in her country.
The representative of Austria said that the delegation held a favourable opinion of the NGO, was convinced that it would contribute positively to the Economic and Social Council, and hoped that the Committee would be in a position to recommend consultative status for it soon.
The representative of Bulgaria also wanted to flag its position in support of the NGO’s application and believed that it was doing valuable work in promoting folk art and culture worldwide. The delegation hoped that, when the Committee received further clarification, it would be able to grant the NGO status.
The Committee Chair stated that the questions would be transmitted to the NGO and the Committee would be notified when the answers were received.
Consideration of Islamic Relief USA, a United States-based national organization that strives to alleviate suffering, hunger, illiteracy and diseases worldwide without regard to colour, race or creed and to provide aid in a compassionate and dignified manner, would be deferred, pending receipt of answers to Committee questions.
Japan Water Forum, an international organization based in Tokyo, created to utilize and further expand the human network, knowledge, information, experience and international credibility cultivated through the Third World Water Forum held in 2003, in view of the fact that water is indispensable for sustainable development, and the elimination of poverty and starvation.
The representative of Venezuela said that the organization was offering financing to local communities in developing countries to help resolve water issues, and asked the NGO to clarify to which developing countries it had channelled its financing from the Japanese private sector, and whether that was in the form of loans or subsidies.
John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, a United States-based national organization working to support creative people and effective institutions committed to building a more just, verdant, and peaceful world, and to defend human rights, advance global conservation and security, improve cities, and understand the effects of technology on children and society.
The representative of China noted that the NGO had not answered all the questions posed to it. The representative of the Russian Federation asked for clarification on how the NGO would operate within his country. He asked for more details about the organization, particularly regarding programmes currently being reviewed or revised for implementation in the Russian Federation.
The representative of Venezuela said that some of the NGO’s responses were worrisome, and that the manner in which it had replied to queries from the Committee was “a bit rude” and “a bit inappropriate”. She expressed concern over how the NGO would behave once admitted into the Organization if that was how it behaved during the application process. She also asked for clarification on the NGO’s funding source. Asking also what the NGO meant by “the global South”, she requested a list of countries in which the organization would operate.
The representative of Kyrgyzstan said he was in full agreement with the representative of Venezuela, specifically noting that the NGO’s declared income on the application was $1, whereas its expenditure was $289.45 million. If that was a technical mistake, he asked that it be corrected. Those questions would be transmitted to the NGO.
National Secular Society, an international organization based in the United Kingdom, working to support the principles underlying articles 18 and 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, particularly for greater freedom of religion and belief, and non-discrimination on those grounds.
The representative of China asked how the NGO was defining “religion”, and also if it would correct its terminology with regard to Taiwan and China.
The representative of Pakistan asked the organization to elaborate on its intention to promote cross-community schooling, wondering how the NGO would balance those aims with a parent’s rights to choose their child’s education.
Noble Institution for Environmental Peace Inc., an international organization based in Canada, working to develop an understanding of — and applying the principles of — environmental peace, which involved the recognition of the mutual interaction of human behaviour with the behaviours of the social, biological and physical environment.
The representatives Kyrgyzstan and Pakistan asked the organization to clarify its aims and purposes, and specifically to explain the meaning of its goal “to find natural means to regulate human population to a similar mutual relationship with our environment”.
The representative of Venezuela asked the NGO to delineate any projects planned for her country, and whether those would entail coordination with a local national body.
Those questions would be transmitted to the organization.
People for Successful COrean REunification (PSCORE), an international organization based in the Republic of Korea and the United States, striving for mutual understanding and harmony between the two Koreas and aiming to bridge the gap between them and the international community through education and open dialogue.
The representative of China said that educating the younger generation on those very sensitive issues was important, and asked how the NGO how it recruited its teachers. As the NGO had indicated that the teachers were volunteers recruited online, she expressed concern over the organization’s methods of discerning teacher qualifications. She also asked where students were found and whether the NGO would be partnering with schools.
Cuba’s representative asked how the organization maintained independence from the Government, and why it was registered in the Republic of Korea. She noted that 96 per cent of funding came from the Governments of the Republic of Korea and the United States, with the remaining small portion coming from the Ministry of Unification. She asked which projects would be undertaken with that funding.
The representative of Venezuela expressed concern with the wording used in the NGO’s response, and asked for clarification with regard to the programmes encouraged by the NGO, as well as for substantive information on the content of its unification programmes. She asked what the seminars and youth meetings entailed, and whether those programmes meant that the Government of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea would eventually disappear and its territory be annexed by the Republic of Korea, because that was the idea conveyed by the information given. She asked how else the NGO was seeking reunification if not through the annexation of another internationally recognized State.
The representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea asked about the nature of the NGO’s relationship with the Republic of Korea’s Unification Ministry.
Speaking on a point of order, the representative of the United States reiterated sentiments expressed in yesterday’s meeting that observer delegations not be permitted to put questions to NGOs.
The representatives of Cuba, China and Venezuela argued that it was the practice of the Committee to allow observer delegations to pose questions and make comments, with Venezuela’s representative stressing that some Committee members were trying to hush the voices of other United Nations members.
Echoing the position of the United States were the representatives of Belgium and Bulgaria. The representative of Israel also supported that position and said her delegation was not at ease with observer questions being sent in a letter on behalf of Committee members. If observers wished to transmit their questions through a member of the Committee who wished to take up that question, then that would be acceptable.
The representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea said he would comment instead. His delegation, he said, was worried that the NGO appeared to have a different agenda than was perceived by its name. To realize the reunification of Korea, supporting reconciliation and harmony among peoples, especially Korean peoples, was commendable; however, toppling the Government of the North was a confrontational approach not approved by the United Nations.
Release Legal Emergency and Drugs Service Limited, a national organization based in the United Kingdom created as the only national centre of expertise on drugs, drugs law and human rights in the United Kingdom, working to bring about a fair and compassionate framework for drug use in society by providing free and confidential specialist advice to the public and professionals, to promote civil liberties, and to help marginalised people gain access to vital information.
The representative of Pakistan asked for clarity on the NGO’s activities, and what it meant by “draconian laws”, specifically how that was defined and which practices it considered to be “draconian”. Further, he noted that the NGO said it supported the decriminalization of all drug possession “as a first step” towards ameliorating the damage done by criminalizing large sections of society. He asked whether the NGO considered that the majority of the population were drug users. In his opinion, the NGO did not seem to be in line with United Nations or the Economic and Social Council’s policies on drug use.
Agreeing with Pakistan’s statement, the representative of the Russian Federation asked how the NGO saw itself as in line with the basic documents of the United Nations, the General Assembly, and the Economic and Social Council, or the basic texts regarding combating drugs.
Also agreeing with the statement made on behalf of Pakistan, the representative of Peru said the NGO’s objectives did not seem to dovetail with the Economic and Social Council’s objectives on the substantive matter, which was drug use, and asked for greater clarification on the issue.
Joining that view, Venezuela’s representative said that some organizations undertook praiseworthy work, but also put forth objectives that went against the United Nations objectives. That appeared to be the case with the NGO at hand. The matter of drugs was a rather delicate issue and was ever more tied to transnational organized crime. In that regard, the decriminalization of drug use posed problems, and no response from the NGO would shed enough light on the issue to move forward. She said the NGO had clear work, and that work clearly went against the work of the United Nations.
Taking note of the comments, the Chair asked the Committee if it wished to proceed with consideration of the NGO’s application. The representative of the United States asked that the questions posed be transmitted to the NGO to allow it the opportunity to respond.
Scandinavian Institute for Human Rights (SIHR) Norway is an international organization based in Norway working to disseminate the culture of human rights, especially in the Middle East, and to promote human rights by consulting, training Governments, gathering and disseminating information among generations, and encouraging master’s and doctorate-level work in international law and human rights.
The representative of Israel said that the delegation did not see a response to the question it had transmitted regarding research conducted by the NGO and the publications it had written, although the NGO had sent a publication in Arabic. So, he requested that a list and description of its research and publications be submitted, preferably in English or French.
Engaging in a discussion with the head of the NGO Branch, the representative of Morocco then raised the issue of whether documents could be submitted in any of the languages of the United Nations, including Arabic, and translated by the Secretariat, or whether, when a document from an NGO, such as a certificate of registration, was not provided in one of the languages of the Committee, the Committee should be expected to postpone its consideration of that applicant because it could not be sure whether the text had been properly translated. He emphasized that he could not understand how a document drafted in Arabic could cause a postponement, as that was unfair to the NGO.
Mr. Abramov highlighted the fact that the working languages of the Committee were English and French, but that NGOs could submit documents in any language and the Committee could have them translated. Regarding certificates of registration, NGOs were asked to provide both originals and translations and the NGO Branch could check some languages, but not all. In the end, it was up to the Committee to decide whether or not to take a document at face value.
A representative of Israel said she believed the discussion had gotten out of hand and that nobody had the intention of receiving hundreds of pages of information from the NGO. The delegation had just asked about the NGO’s work and publications, assuming there had been some miscommunication and the NGO had submitted its publication, when it just needed to explain what it was doing.
The representative of Pakistan requested further clarification about whether the organization was giving human rights training to Governments, or whether it was helping people to exercise their human rights and Governments to ensure their protection, as well as what the organization meant by encouraging master’s and doctorate-level work in international law and human rights.
The Chair noted that the questions would be transmitted to the NGO.
Shrimati Pushpa Wati Loomba Memorial Foundation, an international organization based in the United Kingdom, is working to promote the fundamental freedoms and human rights of widows and their children around the world by raising awareness of the gross injustices women face when losing a husband, and is seeking to remove the stigma associated with being a widow.
The representative of Pakistan asked for further clarification on the NGO’s work in various countries and its legal status in them, as it had stated that it was working in four countries, but it looked as if it were working in eight or nine.
The Chair noted that the questions would be transmitted to the NGO.
Sveriges Kvinnolobby, the Swedish Women's Lobby (SWL), is a national umbrella organisation for women's non-governmental organisations in Sweden, which aims to integrate women's perspectives into all political, economical and social processes, locally as well as internationally, to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women and girls, and to build and strengthen solidarity among women through information, education and awareness raising activities.
Consideration of this NGO’s application was postponed, as it had not yet answered a previous query.
Swisscontact, Schweizerische Stiftung f¸r technische Entwicklungs-zusammenarbeit is a national foundation for development cooperation and the leading Swiss organization in the field of private sector promotion in developing countries. Its ultimate goal is to contribute to the reduction of poverty in selected countries of these regions by promoting sustainable private economic development and growth from which the poor can benefit through advisory services, training and continuing education.
Consideration of this NGO’s application was also postponed, as it had not yet answered a previous query.
Trustees of Boston University, a United States-based national organization, is devoted to education, research and community — the University, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the country, and the wider world.
The representative of China said that incorrect terminology concerning China was used on the organization’s website. The delegate expressed hoped that the NGO would make the necessary corrections.
The Chair stated that the request would be transmitted to the NGO and the Committee would be notified once they were received.
The Committee then turned its attention to its traditional question-and-answer session.
Responding to questions put to her organization by Cuba’s delegation, the representative of Latter-day Saint Charities said that one of the organization’s larger programs in China was wheelchair donation. The organization worked with local partners who identified recipients and, then, fitted them for wheelchairs. China had also been a great partner in making sure that women, who were often overlooked when it came to disabilities, received the attention they deserved. Additionally, the NGO was in the middle of a large asthma programme, on which it was working with China’s Ministry of Health and conducting education campaigns for families.
The representative of Peru said the delegation had no objections to the NGO and was ready to recommend it.
The Committee then recommended the NGO for special consultative status.
Next, the Chair opened the floor for questions to ZOA Vluchtelingensorg, an international organization based in the Netherlands, which is motivated by Biblical concepts that proclaim reconciliation and restoration, and promote a specific responsibility in contributing to “signs of hope”, for the benefit of all people, particularly those in vulnerable positions.
The representative of Belgium stated that the NGO was well-known in her country, and her delegation supported a recommendation to grant it status.
Then, responding to questions posed previously by the Committee about the organization’s individual membership and presence in other countries, the NGO representative said that ZOA had no members because it was a foundation, but had country officers in 14 countries. Approximately 10 of those were registered with local authorities and could provide registration papers, while the others, such as in Burundi, were applying for registration because they had been working through local partners.
The representative of the Russian Federation requested additional information, in written form, on the 14 countries in which the NGO had representatives.
The representative of Sudan asked numerous questions, including about the organization’s presence in Africa, the countries in which it worked there, whether it was registered in Sudan and the nature of any work in that country. The delegate also requested written answers and copies of any registration documents in Sudan.
The NGO representative responded that the organization was working in the Sudan, Liberia, Ethiopia, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and, through local partners, in Burundi. It was registered in the whole of Sudan and had started working in the South of the country in the late 1990s and in Darfur in 2004. It was also working in Gedaref, in the east. Its projects focused mostly on water and sanitation, food security and education. It had been working with people who had been displaced for a number of years or who were vulnerable. Right now, operations aimed at rebuilding and recovering livelihoods.
The Committee Chair stated that the Committee would await the NGO’s written answers and reconsider the application of the NGO at a later date.
During the discussion with a representative of Grupo Intercultural Almaciga, a delegate from Peru asked about projects and activities involving indigenous populations, including in such countries as Peru, Guatemala and Mexico.
The NGO representative stated that its projects with countries such as Peru, Guatemala and Mexico were not direct, but through a consortium of NGOs and not executed by the organization itself. The NGO itself was working in Colombia and Paraguay, but not other countries.
With no further questions, the Committee recommended the NGO for special consultative status.
Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights (YCSRR), an international organization based in Canada, aims to ensure that the sexual and reproductive rights of all young people are respected, guaranteed and promoted, and strives to secure the meaningful participation of young people in decision-making that affects their lives, by advocating, generating knowledge, sharing information, building partnerships and training young activists with a focus on the regional and international levels.
The representative of Kyrgyzstan asked about the organization’s vision of a “world where diversities of all young people” were respected, celebrated and supported to exercise their sexual and reproductive rights. He asked what was meant by “diversities” in that context, as well as what was meant by “fully and freely exercising their sexual rights”, if that meant wherever and whenever, or something else.
He noted that the NGO had acknowledged that there was no internationally agreed definition of “sexual rights”, but that its objective was to increase awareness of sexual rights. He asked how it was possible to give knowledge of such rights to others if the NGO itself did not know the definition. He further asked why the organization seemed to focus exclusively on the sexual rights of young people rather than all human beings.
The NGO’s representative said her organization worked on sexual and reproductive health and rights, and that the term “sexual and reproductive health and rights” was too cumbersome to include in the name, and so the term was shortened. She recognized that young people were not a homogenous group and varied according to economic and social circumstances, so the NGO’s policies and programmes aimed to meet the needs of different peoples, such as rural and indigenous populations. The membership was a collection of individuals, including students, doctors, and midwives, and she said it “did not do country-level work”.
She further said that her organization did not do capacity-building around sexual rights, but around reproductive health, and focused on young people because of the contributions they were able to make.
The representative of Kyrgyzstan asked the NGO to provide its answers in writing.
Regarding coordination by the NGO with related ministries and public offices of the countries in which it worked, the representative of Morocco asked the NGO if it shared the views of those ministries and offices in the countries in which it was active.
The NGO representative replied that it had done some work in Ghana, for example, around poverty reduction strategies, and had been involved in poverty reduction strategy papers and collaborated with the Government there. The NGO’s capacity-building work on sexual and reproductive health never contravened national laws, which were respected at all times.
The representative of Pakistan asked if the NGO would consider changing its name to include the full title of the issue it concerned, namely sexual and reproductive health and rights, to avoid any misconception and confusion. He noted that definitions and specific terminologies used within the United Nations system were sometimes long and difficult to understand, but were based on a complex set of negotiations and preferences encountered through the conclusions on a particular matter, so it would be wise to use the exact terminology and not to give it another name.
The representatives of Morocco and Sudan also posed questions to the NGO regarding its work with and within other countries. The organization’s representative replied that it engaged in capacity-building and sharing resources and that its work with other countries was thus far limited to the four-day workshops conducted in Ghana and in the Philippines.
The Committee postponed recommendation of the NGO pending its anticipated written reply to the questions posed.
* *** *For information media • not an official record