20 May 2011
Economic and Social Council
ECOSOC/6481
NGO/724

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Committee on NGOs

26th & 27th Meetings (AM & PM)


Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations Recommends 10 Groups for Consultative


Status with Economic and Social Council, 16 for Reinstatement, 62 for Withdrawal


The Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations today recommended 10 entities for consultative status with the Economic and Social Council, and postponed its consideration of 32 applications.


The Committee took note of 140 quadrennial reports while deferring consideration of 15.  It also took note of eight requests to change the name of an organization, 62 requests for the withdrawal of consultative status, and 16 requests for reinstatement of consultative status.  Consideration of 105 requests to suspend organizations’ consultative status was deferred.  Those requests and reports noted by the Committee would be included in the Committee’s official report on its resumed 2011 session (document E/2011/32, Part II).


According to Economic and Social Council resolution 1996/31 — the framework text governing NGO participation at the United Nations — consultative status can be suspended, for up to three years, or withdrawn for a number of reasons.  These include engaging in a pattern of acts contrary to the Charter of the United Nations, receiving proceeds resulting from internationally recognized criminal activities, or failing to positively or effectively contribute to the work of the Organization and Council.


Measures to improve the Council’s quadrennial reporting procedures were introduced in Economic and Social Council resolution 2008/4, which stipulates that the Council may also suspend for one year the consultative status of NGOs with outstanding quadrennial reports pertaining to the reporting period 2005-2008.


In the course of the day’s meeting, as was routine, a broad range of applications were postponed, owing to questions posed by delegations over NGOs’ budgets, their affiliations with other organizations, and questions about terminology in their applications.


However, this afternoon, questions arose about the effectiveness and intent of some queries put to the NGOs, as the representative of the United States argued that the inquiries should be used to get to the core of an applicants’ suitability, not to harass candidates or delay their recommendation unnecessarily.


Other delegations countered that questions raised should not be subjected to the judgement of the Committee, and that the mandate entrusted to them as Committee members entailed taking pains to go through each application thoroughly.


The United States’ representative, however, called attention to questions asked of the Australian Lesbian Medical Association, saying that if the NGO was simply called the “Australian Medical Association”, those questions would not have been posed.


In other Committee matters, the Secretariat noted that, as part of the new paperless system included in the Integrated Delivery of Sustainable Publishing Services to Meetings of Calendar Bodies at the United Nations, the interpreters for the Council had successfully completed their first week working entirely without written statements.


The Committee will reconvene again at 10 a.m. on Monday, 23 May to continue its work.


Background


The Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), meeting today to continue its resumed 2011 session, had before it quadrennial reports submitted by organizations in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council, contained in document E/C.2/2011/2/Add.17 through Add.30, as well as deferred quadrennial reports contained in document E/C.2/2011/CRP.7.  Also before the Committee were documents E/C.2/2011/CRP.9 through CRP.13 and CRP.15, containing new and deferred change of name requests, the list of organizations to be reinstated, withdrawn, or suspended, pursuant to Council Resolution 2008/4.


Consideration of Quadrennial Reports


The Committee took note of most of the quadrennial reports contained in documents E/C.2/2022/2/Add.17 through Add.30.


No note was taken of the quadrennial report of Interfaith International contained in document E/C.2/2022/2/Add.20, owing, said the Committee Chair,

to the suspension of the NGOs status.


The Committee also did not take note of the quadrennial reports of Centrist Democratic International for (1994–1997) and (1998-2001), after Cuba’s representative pointed out that the NGO had not submitted its replies.  The representatives of Venezuela and the United States also raised questions.


The Committee then considered the deferred quadrennial reports submitted by NGOs in consultative status with the Council, contained in document E/C.2/2011/2011/CRP.7.


The representative of Cuba again noted that Centrist Democratic International had not answered its queries for either report.


Regarding the deferred reports of The National Council of Women of Thailand (2000-2003), China’s representative noted that this NGO had also not responded to questions.


On the deferred report of International Press Institute (2001-2004), the Chair noted that this NGO also had not responded.


As for the deferred report of Ukrainian World Congress (2003-2006), the representative of the Russian Federation asked about the NGO’s stance on the recent well-known verdict handed down concerning a Nazi criminal.

Regarding the deferred report of the International Network of Liberal Women (2003-2006), the Chair noted that this NGO also had not responded to questions.


On the deferred report of Freedom House (2003-2006), Cuba’s representative ask the NGO to further clarify its methodology with respect to processing information, especially concerning “asking for freedom”, which was among the NGO’s stated aims.


As for the deferred report of CIVICUS — World Alliance for Citizen Participation (2004-2007), the representative of Cuba said the organization had responded, but when her delegation had reviewed the reply, it noticed that additions had been made to the list of country-members of the NGO.  She requested an update from the organization.


The representative of China said the NGO had listed Hong Kong as a country, asking that reference be correctly changed to the Hong King special administrative region of China.


Regarding the deferred reports of Society for Threatened Peoples (2001-2004) and (2005-2008), the representative of China said her delegation felt the reports of this NGO were full of attacks against Member States, and she asked the NGO to stop making political attacks.  In its answer of 8 April 2011, the NGO had said it had gotten its information from human rights defenders and refugees; she asked for clarification on how it vetted the information it received.


On the deferred report of Human Rights Watch (2005–2008), Cuba’s representative expressed concerns regarding the work conducted by the organization, which stated that it produced reports from interviews with witnesses and victims, journalists, doctors, lawyers, military personnel and others.  Based on that, the delegate asked how the NGO was able to remain impartial and corroborate information, particularly as it worked on a nearly worldwide scope.


On the deferred reports of Reporters Sans Frontiers International - Reporters Without Borders International (2005-2008), and International Federation of Journalists (2005-2008), the Chair noted that replies had not yet been received.


During consideration of the deferred report of the International Press Institute (2005-2008), the representative of India said that this NGO had not responded to questions, and he asked whether the Secretariat was sending reminders to NGOS to send its responses.  That request was seconded by Belgium’s representative, who added that her delegation did not have a fixed position on the matter, but hoped the procedure could be made clear to the Committee.


The NGO Branch Chief said that the Branch sent out the questions with respect to deferred reports, but not reminders, and that it was the responsibility of the NGO to reply.  However, if it was the decision of the Committee to do so, then reminders would be sent.


It was then agreed that, going forward, reminders would be sent, as was done with the applications.


The Committee also, again, postponed consideration of the deferred reports of International Union of Socialist Youth (2005-2008), Becket Fund for Religious Liberty (2006-2009), and International PEN (2006-2009), as those NGOs had not yet responded.


The Committee took note of the deferred report of Asian Legal Resource Centre (2006-2009).


Name Change Requests


The Committee then turned to requests for name changes, first taking note of the deferred request for a name change of Feminist Club (special consultative status, 2005), to Caucasian Feminist Initiative (document E/C.2/2011/CRP.9).


It noted the name change requests for the following organizations (document E/C.2/2011/CRP.10):  China International Institute of Multinational Corporations to China International Council for the Promotion of Multinational Corporations (special consultative status, 2006); International Union Against Cancer to Union for International Cancer Control (roster status, 2011); African Child Care Association, Inc. to African Aid Organization, Inc. (special consultative status, 2008); Service and Research Foundation of Asia on Family and Culture to Service and Research Institute on Family and Children (special consultative status, 1999); International Save the Children Alliance to Save the Children International (general consultative status, 1993); World Movement of Mothers to Mouvement Mondial des Meres International — Make the Mothers Matter International (general consultative status 2004); and World Population Foundation to Stichting Rutgers WPF (special consultative status, 2004).


Withdrawals, Suspensions, Reinstatements


The Committee, then, took note of the request for withdrawal of status for the Centre for Psychology and Social Change (special consultative status, 1998).


Next, the Committee took up the lists 16 organizations to be reinstated (document E/C.2/2011/CRP.11), the 61 to be withdrawn (document E/C.2/2011/CRP.12), and the 105 to be suspended (document E/C.2/2011/CRP.13).  The Chair of the NGO Branch, Andrei Abramov, noted that Innu Council of Nitassinan, which was on the list to be withdrawn, had now submitted its quadrennial report, and would be considered for reinstatement.


The Committee took note of the 16 NGOs to be reinstated, according to their respective general, special or roster consultative status, as follows:  Adolescent Health and Information Projects; African Women Empowerment Guild; Bangladesh Mahila Parishad; Canadian Voice of Women for Peace; DIYA, The All-Ukrainian Women’s People’s Democratic Association; Fondation europeenne pour le developpement durable des regions; Fondation pour la Promotion de la Sante et le Developpement de la Recherche; General Arab Women Federation; Global Rights; Innu Council of Nitassinan; Institute for Security Studies; International Holistic Tourism Education Centre; National Council on Family Relations; Union of Arab Jurists; World Association of Former United Nations Interns and Fellows; and World Water Council.


(In accordance with Economic and Social Council resolution 2008/4, the Council had suspended, for one year, the consultative status of NGOs with outstanding quadrennial reports pertaining to the reporting period 2005-2008.  However, its resolution 2008/4 also provided the suspended organizations with one last opportunity to submit their reports, by 1 May 2011, for consideration by the Committee, and in order for their consultative status to be reinstated).


Next, the Committee took note of the withdrawal of the 61 NGOs on the list.


Regarding the suspension of the 105 NGOs, the representative of Cuba asked the Committee to wait to take action, as she believed that two Cuban organizations on the list might have sent in the necessary information and wanted to be fair to it.  Noting that the delegation trusted the Secretariat, she said that there had previously been problems with the servers in the United States, such as during communication between the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) offices in Havana and New York, and that, perhaps the NGOs had sent the replies, but the server had erased it.  Therefore, she requested the opportunity to make a phone call and check whether the NGOs had sent the information.


The representative of Israel also pointed out that an NGO on the list of organizations to be suspended, Centre for Psychology and Social Change, had appeared in document E/C.2/2011/CRP.15:  Request of Withdrawal, and asked whether the Committee still needed to suspend it.


The representative of the United States, then, raised a concern over how the list was compiled on the server and, given that there was a problem with at least one NGO on the list, whether it was necessary to review the entire list.


Mr. Abramov explained that the NGO Branch had not received the report of the Centre for Psychology and Social Change and, thus, had listed the NGO as suspended before receiving its request for withdrawal.  He suggested that the Committee include a footnote that the Committee had taken note of the organization’s request for withdrawal of consultative status.  Furthermore, with regard to questions about the server, he stated that he was not the correct person to answer this question, as the database was departmental and not under his purview.  However, because the database was aging quickly and needed to be looked at more closely, the NGO Branch conducted due diligence, such as manual double counts.  Whether the NGO Branch had caught all of the problems was difficult to say, but more dedicated capacity was needed in the Branch to work more professionally.


The Committee Chair, then, stated that the Committee would return later to the list of organizations to be suspended, including whether the number of organizations should be 104, or should include the Centre for Psychology and Social Change, and that the Committee would take note of the list at the session’s end.


The Committee today recommended special consultative status for the following organizations:


Indo-European Chamber of Commerce and Industry, an international organization in India, engaging in business support, research, consulting and economic development, with a focus on the economic development of small and medium entrepreneurs in less developed regions.

Niger Delta Women’s Movement for Peace and Development, a national organization based in Nigeria that promotes enduring peace in the Niger Delta, focusing on women’s empowerment, conflict mediation, peace building, gender and climate change issues, girl-child education, ecological imperatives, HIV/AIDS prevention, caring for orphans and vulnerable children, and economic and social advancement of the women and people in the rural areas of the Niger Delta region.


Policy Research, another national organization based in Nigeria that aims to generate empirical knowledge to support the building of a Nigeria and Africa where there is sustainable socio-economic progress, poverty has been overcome and people live with dignity, good health, and physical and psychological integrity.  One of the main purposes of the organization is to conduct research into socio-economic and health problems, in order to advance knowledge of the problems affecting human security, socio-economic status, health and well-being, gender-based violence, social justice, child survival, and conflicts and conflict resolution mechanisms in local communities.


Shanta Memorial Rehabilitation Centre, a national organization based in India, working to promote the rights of the disabled and to prepare persons with disabilities to be able to generate income and lead a productive independent life.


Pakistan’s representative said that the responses were satisfactory and that status should be recommended.


Society for Human advancement and Disadvantaged Empowerment, a national organization based in Pakistan, working to promote women’s social, political and economic empowerment in the Baluchistan province.


South Asian Forum for Environment, an international organization based in India, working to promote sustainable environmental development for the conservation of natural resources, as well as poverty alleviation in the Indian eco-region through partnership and participation.


The representative of Pakistan noted that the response provided was satisfactory.


STEER Foundation, a national organization based in India, working to alleviate poverty through social and sustainable development, education, environmental development, research, women’s empowerment, the promotion of human rights and globalization.


Udyama, a national organization in India that aims to strengthen and build capacities of local communities with a view towards enhancing adaptation to vulnerability, and changing the culture of dependency to a culture of self-reliance through network-based initiatives, keeping in mind local empowerment and regional development priorities.


AIDS Foundation East-West, an international public health organization based in the Netherlands that works in Eastern Europe and Central Asia to reduce the impact of HIV/AIDS, using innovative and proactive approaches and actively seeking international and regional exchanges.


AquaFed — International Federation of Private Water Operators, an international France-based organization, working to provide a means for communication and dialogue between private water and wastewater service providers and international institutions and stakeholders.  This includes all the main United Nations agencies that deal with water.


The Committee recommended that review of the following applications be postponed, pending replies to previous or additional questions posed:


International Institute of Security & Safety Management, an international organization in India that aims to promote security and safety as integral parts of human and socio-economic development, as well as to promote international and national cooperation, awareness and strategic understanding between NGOs, industry and the governmental sectors, with respect to security and criminal justice issues.


China’s representative noted that the NGO said it had contributed to Economic and Social Council through the civil protection of women and children, and asked it to clarify what those activities had entailed.


Jananeethi — A people’s Initiative for Human Rights, another organization in India that defends and upholds the civil and fundamental rights of disadvantaged and marginalized groups of people, so that they, irrespective of ethnic, regional, religious or other identity, are able to seek justice and equity in all spheres of their life.


Jordan Career Education Foundation, a national organization that aims to empower and employ Jordanian youth through private-sector-sponsored training, including targeted technical, vocational, and managerial programmes, so that they may establish sustainable livelihoods and contribute towards Jordan’s future economic development.


Jordanian Women’s Union, a national organization, dedicated to abolishing all forms of gender discrimination and to promoting human rights, targeting women and their children, with a special focus on women victims of violence, through national and regional advocacy campaigns, research and rights-based programming.


Kerman Raad, a national organization based in Iran that develops the capabilities of 15-year-old and older “physical and kinetic help-seekers”, with the purpose of reinforcing their self-confidence, self sufficiency and self-employment.  The organization provides technical training courses in fields like information technology and sewing, enlists the students in group sessions with psychologists, and helps sell their products in exhibitions or through subcontracts.


Bulgaria’s representative asked the NGO how it was able to ensure that its training programmes were offered to all groups and all members of society without discrimination.


Venezuela’s representative said her delegation was prepared to confer consultative status, but respected the deferral, owing to the questions of other Member States.


Krityanand UNESCO Club Jamshedpur, a national organization based in India, working to popularize the aims and purpose of the United Nations, and promotes its programme and activities among Indian society, and to promote international understanding, peace and tolerance through education, science, culture and mass communication, as well as organizing programmes dealing with social work, human resource management, the health system and culture.


During consideration of this NGO, Belgium’s representative asked that the Committee move more quickly, and suggested that delegations should have their questions ready for each NGO as it was considered to save time.


A discussion ensued, during which the representatives of Pakistan, Morocco, and Venezuela expressed the view that delegations should be given the needed time to adequately consider each application during the meeting, especially since some delegations were small with perhaps just a single member present.


The Chair agreed that for deferred applications, delegations should have their answers ready.


The representative of the United States suggested that to save time, the Committee should come back to those applications which delegations had not been able to adequately review, so as to prevent time-wasting during proceedings, so as to give those delegations a chance to prepare any comments or questions.


Mahabodhi International Meditation Centre, an international organization based in India, working to provide urgent humanitarian services to impoverished people in Ladakh, and to provide meditation services to those from international communities seeking spiritual development, including free education, health care and housing.


China’s representative asked for a correction of the terminology used regarding the Tibet Autonomous Region and Taiwan Autonomous Region.  She saw that some corrections had been made, but further corrections were needed, she said.


The representative of Pakistan said the NGO had members that were serving as Government officials, but who did not contribute in an advisory capacity.  He, therefore, asked how the NGO could consider itself independent from the Government if it had such officials serving on its advisory boards.


New Era Educational and Charitable Support Initiative, a national organization based in Nigeria that supports and supplies local communities with an array of educational programmes that encourage individual creative self-expression, exploration and experimentation, and increase awareness, understanding and appreciation of the creative process by facilitating communication and interaction among educators, learners and members of the public.


The representative of China requested a breakdown of the NGO’s funding from international organizations, as well as the specific projects it carried out.


New World Hope Organization, an organization in Pakistan that promotes education among the deprived communities to develop respectable and better living standards; establishes vocational institutions and sponsors short-term professional courses, especially for people residing in rural, to help resolve the problem of unemployment; and establishes programmes aimed at promoting the rate of literacy.

The representative of India said that the NGO had not answered the questions his delegation had posed earlier, and asked that they be re-sent to the NGO.


ODHIKAR — Coalition for Human Rights, a national organization in Bangladesh that promotes human rights; advocates and lobbies for the incorporation and ratification of various international instruments by the local government; documents and investigates specific human rights abuses; and promotes good governance through advocacy, lobbying and monitoring, among other objectives.


The representative of China asked for detailed information regarding the NGO’s membership and subsidiary organizations.


The representative of India asked further information regarding the NGO’s statement that it had applied for consultative status in 2003 and 2004, given that the NGO Branch had no records of that.  It also asked the NGO whether or not it had ever received any communication regarding its previous applications.


Palpung Munishasan Dharmachakra Sangh, an international educational organization based in India that is dedicated to the welfare of others without consideration of sect, caste, religion, race, gender or nationality; aims to promote, encourage and support all activities that will contribute towards peace and cooperation among the people of the world by use of the humanitarian principles; and to encourage and cultivate non-violence as a method of both individual and social growth.


The representative of China asked for clarification about where the organization’s annual meeting took place and how, as an international organization, it represented different members from different countries.


PFI Foundation, a national organization in India that aims to accelerate the pace of rural socio-economic development and alleviate poverty in rural areas by providing the grass-roots communities with a means to gain successful employment in all possible sectors, reversing the urban migration.


Reality of Aid Network, an international organization based in the Philippines, created to contribute to more effective strategies to eliminate poverty, based on principles of solidarity and equity, through analysis of international aid and development cooperation, and lobbying for changes in North-South systemic relationships and aid practices.


Venezuela’s representative asked why the NGO’s travel and transport expenses were included under project costs and not administrative costs.


SAHIL, a national organization based in Pakistan, working to prevent child sexual abuse and exploitation, provide victim support, and sensitize individuals, groups and organizations concerned with child protection.


Pakistan’s representative, drawing attention, once again, to Krityanand UNESCO Club Jamshedpur, asked for clarification regarding funding and the NGO’s relationship to Government activities


West Africa Centre for Peace Foundation, a national organization in Ghana that serves young people in schools and communities through education of human rights, leadership training and peace-building for a social development.


Kyrgyzstan ’s representative asked for the Secretariat to explain why the Committee had postponed the review of that organization’s application, to which Mr. Abramov replied that the Committee, previously, had had no time to review it.


The representative of China, then, sought clarification regarding the NGO’s affiliation with two other organizations, asking about the relationships and specific cooperation in any field.


Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights, an international organization based in the Philippines that aims for a world where women can enjoy their reproductive and sexual rights, free from social, political, cultural and economic oppression, in keeping with their personally-held values, in dignity and in good health.


Regarding the NGO’s statement that it was registered in Amsterdam and the Philippines, the representative of China asked that the NGO submit certificates of registration.


The representative of Israel, then, said her delegation had reviewed the material and could have been in a position to recommend consultative status; however, it recognized that there was still an outstanding question, so it hoped that, next time, everyone would be in a position to grant the NGO consultative status, given its important work with women.


The representative of Bulgaria seconded the statement by her Israeli colleague, noting that her own delegation also had been willing to recommend granting consultative status at this session.


The Committee Chair noted that the certificates had been received and were being uploaded to the system, so that the Committee members could review them and make a decision later.


World Toilet Organization, an international organization based in Singapore that increases awareness of good sanitation practices and generates action for better sanitation, addresses the dysfunctional sanitation market for the poor, brings together industries to collaborate and develop integrated solutions for sanitation delivery, and promotes ecological sanitation through the recycling of excreta to prevent environmental pollution into water ways.


A Better Life Foundation, an international organization in Switzerland that works to relieve the suffering of some of the world’s most vulnerable people, particularly persons with disabilities, by improving their quality of life, safeguarding their rights and helping them to become self-sufficient.


The representative of Venezuela said that her delegation’s questions from the last session had not been answered and asked that the NGO answer them, as well as to respond to a new question about its plan to launch initiatives in developing countries, namely, in which countries and what initiatives it would undertake.


The representative of Switzerland commented that the NGO had been on the deferred list for nearly two years, so his delegation hoped that, pending satisfactory answers, the Committee would be in a position to make a decision at its next session.


All Women’s Empowerment and Development Association, a national organization located in Nova Scotia that aims to effectively integrate underprivileged immigrant and refugee women into the Canadian labour market and society.


Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, a United States-based international organization, is a non-profit trade organization, made up of European, Japanese, and American automobile manufacturers, advocating technically sound public policy positions that meet consumer and societal needs for clean, safe, efficient and affordable personal transportation.


American Bible Society, a United States-based national organization that makes the Bible available to people in a language and format that they can understand and afford, so that all people may experience its life-changing message.


The representative of China said that the NGO had used the wrong terminology and listed Taiwan with other countries, so his delegation asked that the organization correct it, using Taiwan Province of China.


Amuta for NGO Responsibility, a national organization based in Israel that was founded to promote accountability and advance a vigorous discussion on the reports and activities of human rights and humanitarian NGOs in the framework of the Arab-Israeli conflict.


The representative of Morocco asked for a summary of some of the NGO’s activities protecting civilians in general and Palestinian civilians, in particular.


The representative of Cuba said that the NGO’s projects went beyond the national context and into the regional arena, so her delegation wished to know why it was registered as a national organization.


The representative of Sudan asked why the budget presented by the NGO was too small compared to the volume of its stated activities, which, the delegate agreed, stretched into the regional context.


Asia Catalyst, a United States-based international organization working to support and promote the development of local NGOs that advance human rights, social justice and environmental protection in Asia.


China’s representative asked for clarification on the NGO’s affiliated organizations and how various sources of income would affect its work.  She also asked whether the HIV/AIDS-related assistance the NGO had long provided had included financial support.


Asia Center for Human Rights (ACHR), a national organization based in the Republic of Korea, created to cultivate human resources to engage in establishing a human rights protection mechanism and to contribute to improving the human rights situation in Asia.


Venezuela’s representative said the NGO director had stated at a public hearing that the organization must foster “resistance forces” within the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and asked for a clarification of what was meant by that statement, as well as whether such an aim was in line with the United Nations Charter.


The representative of Bulgaria said the NGO was doing important work in its fields.  In Asia, as in most regions, such a human rights instrument would be highly valuable.  The NGO was also realistic in its goals, acknowledging that it would be a long road that would include, in the interim, the promotion of a free exchange of ideas with civil society without imposing any sort of prejudged solution.  She said the NGO met the criteria set out in resolution 1996/31 and her delegation stood ready to grant it status.


Cuba’s representative she had carefully studied the reply of the organization, and asked for results of a meeting it had held in Bangladesh to discuss the mechanism they wished to implement.


Speaking as an observer delegation to the Committee, the representative of the Republic of Korea said the NGO had been established in 2006 to promote and protect human rights in the region, and to provide training.  She said the NGO, whose application had been deferred since 2009, should be granted status because it contributed positively to the Economic and Social Council and its subsidiary bodies.


Also speaking as an observer delegation to the Committee, the representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea said his delegation had a strong voice against the NGO, and shared the concerns of Venezuela and Cuba that the organization often referred to “fostering resistance forces” in his country.  That was a very serious issue, he said.  Peace and security was a priority for the people of both North and South Korea, and the Committee should consider the impact that NGO’s work would have on the fragile peace and security process.


Assyrian National Congress, a United States-based international organization, created to promote the programmes and activities of the Economic and Social Council in American media, attend Council conferences geared towards the protection of human rights, and use the Assyrian Global Television Network, as well as radio and publications, to further the Council’s aims.


Venezuela’s representative asked what links, if any, the NGO had to political parties in Syria, as it had been created by a political party.  She asked that a certificate be supplied showing that there was no such affiliation.


The representative of the United States said that no NGO would ever be able to supply such a certificate as the one requested by the representative of Venezuela.  He said that the Council should not tolerate the “transparent harassment” through such questions of NGOs under consideration.


The representative of Venezuela said that it was not the place of delegations to question the nature of queries posed by other delegations.

The representative of Pakistan said that delegations should be able to ask their questions as they arose, and seconded the concerns of Venezuela.  He also asked for more information about the work being done internationally by the NGO, and requested clarification as to what legal channels the NGO followed regarding its disbursements of aid when working internationally, for example, in Iraq.


The representative of Cuba expressed support for the statements made by Pakistan and Venezuela.  She said the meeting must maintain a good spirit in terms of work and cooperation, and called on delegations not to “question the questions” made by Member States, as they had a right to do so.


As for the NGO, she said the application had initially referred to working with 13 countries, but later answers referred to 40 countries.  She asked if the NGO had extended its reach, and whether it could name all countries with which it worked.


Sudan’s representative aligned his delegation with “what had been said many times”, namely, that each Committee member had the right to express whatever it wished and to raise whatever questions it wished to raise, and to obtain the appropriate answers to those questions.


Posing his own question to the NGO, he asked for clarification regarding the organization’s work in North Africa, and to specify any regional organizations with which it might partner.  He asked for those responses in writing.


The representative of the United States said that, while he was reluctant to take up more time, it should be noted that the United States did not now, nor had it ever been, of the position that countries could not ask questions.  However, it also held that it was the right of other delegations to form an opinion about the quality of those questions, and his delegation had no problem with such opinions being formed or, conversely, of questions being asked of its own queries.  His aim was to inquire if the questions being posed to the NGOs really were to get to the core of whether or not the NGO would really contribute to the Council.


The representative of India noted that revised materials of the application were not accessible and should be uploaded to the system.  He also asked that a reason be given for amendments to the NGO’s 2000 constitution, and to explain what the amendment was.


Australian Lesbian Medical Association, a national organization, is an association for lesbian doctors, lesbian medical students and their partners, working to provide support and advocacy for members and advance the visibility of lesbian doctors and lesbian health.


Morocco’s representative asked for a clarification regarding the budget summary, referring to $11,306 stipulated for projects.  Among the projects found in part three of the NGO’s budget, he said the same amount was stipulated for the annual conference.  Normally, funds for annual conferences should not come under projects, as that should be part of a separate category for conferences.  If that amount was for a conference, it meant that there was no money for projects, and he then found it difficult to see how it was able to fund some of its activities.


Speaking as an observer delegation to the Council, the representative of Australia said she supported an inclusive United Nations and believed that every NGO meeting the criteria in resolution 1996/31 should be granted status.  That resolution explicitly confirmed the need to take into account the full diversity of NGOs and the need for the Council to support a broad range of organizations.  Her delegation regretted the decision to defer action, urging that that be reconsidered.


Morocco’s representative said he wished to correct what was being said, and that he had been speaking strictly about the budget and was not talking about the substance of the application.  The Committee should be able see an answer to the question, and it would in no way impact the review of the application.


The representative of Belgium said her delegation was ready to grant status to the NGO and hoped the Committee would do so shortly, after giving it the opportunity to reply to the question from Morocco.


The representative of the United States said he seconded what Belgium’s delegate said, as the United States believed the NGO was well qualified and would be approved when it answered this last of a seemingly endless round of questions.  If the NGO was called simply “The Australian Medical Association”, it would not have been subjected to such an intense round of questioning since 2009.


Israel’s representative said that if no questions remained, her delegation was ready to grant status, once the NGO had provided the requested information.


The representative of Morocco recalled that it was said in yesterday’s meeting regarding two or three NGOs from which the Committee was still awaiting documents, that since only one reply was outstanding, status could be recommended while taking into account the imminent receipt of certain explanations with regard to the budget.  He said perhaps that could be done in the case of this NGO as well.


The representative of Pakistan said he wanted very much to support what Morocco’s delegate had said in explanation, adding that the NGO had indeed provided several responses to the questions posed, which showed its seriousness, as well as its commitment to the Council and its interest in receiving consultative status.  That should be the spirit of the Committee.  However, he also said that, while some delegations might have duties other than going through all of the applications, other delegations might feel that the mandate entrusted to them as members of this Committee entailed taking pains to go through each application thoroughly.  Then, if they found something, which, in their view, needed raising, then it was important to do so.


He then asked the NGO to explain what it meant by “lesbian health”.


The representative from the United States thanked the representative of Morocco for his “constructive suggestion” regarding recommending status to the NGO and asked Pakistan if he, too, would be wiling to move forward since there was a strong sense in the Committee that the NGO was well qualified.  He hoped that the “very constructive comment” made by Morocco would be taken into consideration.


The Committee postponed consideration of the NGO until the question put to it by Pakistan’s delegation could be answered.


Bridging the Gulf, an international organization based in the Netherlands that was established to contribute to regional cooperation in the Gulf region and to support initiatives taken in that region in the areas of human security, human rights, women’s rights and the development of civil societies.


Both the representative of Cuba and the representative of Iran said that the NGO’s use of the word “Gulf” was ambiguous, as there were many gulfs, and that the NGO should use the proper United Nations terminology, namely the “ Persian Gulf”.


The representative of Venezuela asked how the NGO planned to meet its general objectives with its scant financial resources, as well as whether the NGO’s use of the name “Human Security for the Gulf Region” in its letterhead had anything to do with the notion of human security being debated in the General Assembly, for which no definition had been reached.


British Columbia Civil Liberties Association, a national organization based in Canada that aims to preserve, defend, maintain and extend civil liberties and human rights in British Columbia and across Canada.


The representative of China asked for additional information about whether the organization had members or any affiliated associations.


British Humanist Association, a national organization based in the United Kingdom that promotes humanism, supports and represents people who seek to lead good lives without religious beliefs, and campaigns for human rights and equality for people with non-religious beliefs.


The representative of China asked for additional information about the NGO’s relationship with the International Humanist and Ethical Union.


The representative of Pakistan requested that the NGO further explain its position regarding support for euthanasia, which was basically “assisted suicide”, in connection with the ethical values it states it was promoting.  The delegate also asked whether the NGO believed that that practice should be legalized, as well as how that related to the fundamental right to life.


Bureau international pour le respect des droits de l’homme au Sahara Occidental, a national organization based in Switzerland that aims to promote the efforts of all those who struggle in the world to respect human rights as stipulated in the United Nations Charter and international conventions, and to support the initiatives of individuals and groups who fight for human rights in the Western Sahara.


The representative of Morocco expressed great concern that the NGO had not been able to justify, in a satisfactory manner, why it used documents with different names.  It asked that the NGO produce a proper certificate of registration, as other Swiss NGOs had been able to do in the past.  He also pointed out that the NGO’s bylaws had not been signed or dated, noting that the Committee worked in conformity with provisions of specific resolutions and could not reply to the NGO’s application when its supporting documents were not credible.

The representative of Senegal voiced his agreement with the intervention by his Moroccan colleague, adding that the NGO had not clarified the difference in the names it used.  He also asked the organization to provide a certificate of registration and confirmation about its existence since 2002; an organization requesting special consultative status should be required, in the very least, to be registered prior to applying.


The representative of Switzerland commented that the NGO had been on the deferred list for two years and, to his delegation’s knowledge, had existed since 2002.  He noted that this organization might not have registered because NGOs in Switzerland had no obligation to do so, according to the civil code.  However, his delegation hoped that the NGO could clear up the question of its existence by next week, so that the Committee could consider it during the current session.


Turning to its traditional question-and answer section of the meeting, the Committee heard from a representative of Human Rights House Foundation, an international organization based in Norway working to strengthen human rights groups worldwide through the establishment of “human rights houses”, and to protect and promote human rights, as well as strengthen the organizational capacity and effectiveness of human rights NGOs.


The representative of China expressed concern over the NGO’s affiliation with the Human Rights House Network, which, she said, carried out activities in contravention to the United Nations Charter.  She asked the NGO to clarify its relationship to the Network and to confirm that it would not share its consultative status with that NGO or any in that network.  She also asked that the NGO resubmit the application as a national organization with no members based in Norway.


The NGO representative recalled that her organization had answered 51 questions in writing and had participated in the Council’s proceedings five times, and regretted any past confusion.  The NGO was an open and transparent organization in all its communication, and sought consultative status in good faith, she added.


She said the organization had offices in Oslo and in Geneva, with board members located in Norway and staff in both Norway and Switzerland.  The NGO did not have any members, in compliance with Norwegian laws for a foundation.  Any NGO partners in joint projects, including any with a similar name, had no legal power or rights over the applicant.  Furthermore, she said, her NGO was not linked to any religious group, was non-discriminatory, and did not support or work with any separatist movements, nor did it engage with territorial issues.  The staff of the NGO would be the only ones representing the NGO at the United Nations.


The representative of Pakistan said the NGO was not only well prepared, but highly engaged with the Committee, as it had taken time to speak with each of the concerned delegations, approaching them in advance about any concerns they might have.  That was very much in the spirit of engagement and positivism sought by the Council, and as soon as the new application was resubmitted, it should be considered favourably.


The representative of Morocco asked the Secretariat to provide delegates with written copies of the NGO representative’s statement.

The representative of Kyrgyzstan also said that this NGO was setting a positive example of how to work with the NGO Committee, and his delegation would be pleased to recommend consultative status.


The representative of Norway, speaking as an observer, said the NGO was well known to the Norwegian Government and had taken a key part in the Universal Periodic Review process, and while the Government did not agree with all of the NGO’s views, it was a transparent organization and could contribute positively to the work of the United Nations.


The representative of Croatia said that her delegation wished to note the support that the NGO had provided in establishing a human rights house in Croatia, and had worked with Croatian NGOs in a positive manner.  She underlined that its contribution was constructive and had always taken time to meet and explain its aims to the local and national authorities.  While the NGO sometimes raised issues that were difficult for Governments, it was valuable in its work.


The representative of Switzerland said his delegation was also pleased with the NGO and hoped the Committee would recommend consultative status.


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For information media • not an official record