|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Committee on NGOs
13th & 14th Meetings (AM & PM)
NGO Committee Recommends 11 Organizations for Special Consultative Status
with Economic and Social Council, Postpones Consideration of 19 Others
The Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations today continued consideration of its lengthy list of groups seeking status with the Economic and Social Council, recommending 11 organizations for special consultative status, while postponing consideration of 19 others, pending receipt of additional information from a variety of applicants ranging from an emergency medical service unit to trustees of a major United States university.
Since 1946, the Committee has granted more than 3,500 civil society groups general, special or roster status with the Council based on criteria including the applicant’s mandate, governance and financial regime. Organizations with general and special status can attend the Council’s meetings and circulate statements, while those with general status can also address meetings and propose agenda items. Roster-status non-governmental organizations (NGOs) can only attend meetings.
Today the 19-member Committee granted special status to several groups dealing with human rights, including the Murder Victims’ Families for Human Rights, the Sexuality Information and Education Council, and Shrimati Pushpa Wati Loomba Memorial Foundation, which focuses on widows and their children.
The Committee also considered the reclassification of the status of Family Health International — a United States-based global health and development organization whose science-based programmes aim to bring lasting change to the world’s most vulnerable people — deciding ultimately to postpone a decision to later in the session. Delegates had mixed opinions on whether the group merited a general or special consultative status.
During the day-long meeting, some Committee members became involved in several debates on procedural matters, leading to postponing decisions on applications. Among those postponements was the Noble Institution for Environmental Peace Inc., a group based in Canada that aims to benefit all humanity through developing an understanding of and applying the principles of environmental peace. A lengthy discussion on permissible questions for NGOs prior to considering their applications followed inquiries made by the delegates from Sudan and Venezuela on that group’s members and activities in their respective countries.
After some Committee members expressed concerns over individual’s privacy rights versus the need for pertinent information needed before the Committee could grant status to an NGO, the Chair, Maria Pavlova Tzotzorkova ( Bulgaria) suggested an informal meeting among delegations to settle on a compromise. She also noted that the issue would be placed on the agenda of the Committee’s discussion on working methods.
Andrei Abramov, Chief of the NGO Branch, said that issue had lingered for years, with no written practice, recommendations or agreed-upon conclusions made outside informal discussions. He then emphasized that in all cases, the Committee had been careful to protect the privacy of individuals.
A lengthy debate also ensued during the consideration of United Hatzalah (NP), a voluntary emergency services group registered in Israel. After the representative of the observer delegation of Palestine pointed out the group was based in an illegally occupied area in East Jerusalem, Mr. Abramov requested and later received advice from the Office of Legal Affairs. He subsequently requested the Committee to include another question for the group about its exact address.
Action will also be taken at a later date on other groups, including the Trustees of Boston University and Widows for Peace and Democracy.
Following up on action taken yesterday regarding Movement against Atrocities and Repression — a Switzerland-based group that aims to support and cooperate with other human rights organizations — the Committee reviewed the Indian delegation’s draft letter informing the NGO of its concerns about its activities and offering a chance for the group to respond, in line with the Committee’s rules of procedure. (See Press Release ECOSOC/6497.)
After several delegates voiced suggested amendments, Ms. Tzotzorkova reported that the text had been agreed upon and Mr. Abramov would send the letter, as orally amended, indicating to the group that it must respond before the 10 February deadline.
The Committee participated in an interactive dialogue with the IDP Foundation, Inc., whose application was granted special status, and Scholars at Risk Network, whose application will be taken up at a later time.
The Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. Wednesday, 8 February, to continue its work.
Follow-Up on Draft Letter
Following up on action taken yesterday regarding Movement against Atrocities and Repression — a Switzerland-based group that aims to support and cooperate with other human rights organizations — the Committee reviewed the Indian delegation’s draft letter informing the NGO of his concerns about its activities and offering a chance for the group to respond, in line with the Committee’s rules of procedure.
Upon review of the draft letter, Cuba’s delegate approved the content, but disagreed with a phrase in the third paragraph that concerns were voiced “by several delegations”. She suggested that the concerns should be expressed on behalf of the whole Committee. The suggestion was supported by the delegates from India and Pakistan.
The United States’ delegate asked for time to review a similar request related to alleged links to terrorists sent by the Committee last week to the Islamic African Relief Agency (IARA) — a Sudanese-based international NGO, which had as its aims humanitarian relief, rehabilitation and development; conflict resolution, peacebuilding and human security; and, among others, maintenance of human rights and dignity, gender empowerment and equality.
Chairperson MARIA PAVLOVA TZOTZORKOVA ( Bulgaria) said both cases would not be linked and that the matter of the draft letter to the Movement against Atrocities and Repression would be discussed at a later time while considerations were being made.
Special Consultative Status
The following were recommended for special consultative status:
Murder Victims’ Families for Human Rights — a United States-based organization of family members of victims of homicide, state execution, extrajudicial assassinations, and “disappearances” who oppose the death penalty in all cases. The organization was established to promote international support and respect for human rights in harmony with the rights of victims, to provide information and education about the needs of family members of murder victims who oppose capital punishment and to advocate for those victims, and, consistent with the promotion of human rights laws and concern for victims, to promote the global abolition of the death penalty.
Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States — a New York-based organization that affirms that sexuality is a fundamental part of being human, one that is worthy of dignity and respect. The group advocates for the right of all people to accurate information, comprehensive education about sexuality, and sexual health services, and works to create a world that ensures social justice and sexual rights.
The Shrimati Pushpa Wati Loomba Memorial Foundation — a United Kingdom-based group that aims 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 removing the stigma associated with being a widow.
Stichting Universal Education Foundation — a Netherlands-based advocacy foundation that works in co-creative partnerships towards learning for well-being, with a spotlight on children and youth. The purpose of the organization is to inspire and engage people in making learning environments more conducive to the well-being of children and youth.
Thin and High — a United States-based organization that aims to cultivate members to contribute and to serve, to respect and be proud of heritage, to improve Sino-American relationships, and to appreciate nature and protect the environment.
The delegate of China expressed support for the group’s application.
East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Projects — a Uganda-based group that aims to strengthen the work of human rights defenders in the subregion by reducing their vulnerability to the risk of persecution and by enhancing their capacity to effectively defend human rights. Its work focuses on Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, United Republic of Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi.
Somalia’s delegate said the group had been active in the subregion and had a clear record. It had the full support of Somalia and other countries in East Africa.
Sudan’s delegate said that, having cross-checked responses to previous questions with his capital, he was in a position to support the organization.
Belgium’s representative fully endorsed those speakers and recommended consultative status for the organization.
World Igbo Congress — a United States-based organization that aims to provide an environment that encourages expansion of existing business and the attraction of new jobs to Igbo Land, the south-east zone of Nigeria.
China’s delegate said the group had corrected erroneous terminology concerning China’s Taiwan Province and China now had no problems with its application.
International Federation of Translators — a Switzerland-based international federation of associations of translators, interpreters and terminologists gathering more than 100 associations from all over the world. Its purpose is to promote professionalism in the disciplines it represents.
India’s delegate said it was not clear when roster status had been given to the group.
Mr. ABRAMOV explained that some roster organisations associated with United Nations entities had been added to the list and for those organizations it would not be possible to determine when they had received roster status.
Belgium’s delegate favoured upgrading its status from roster to special consultative status, as the group promoted multilingualism and was affiliated with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
World Heart Federation — a Switzerland-based organization in the field of cardiovascular disease committed to helping people achieve a longer and better life through prevention and control of heart disease and stroke, with a focus on low- and middle-income countries.
Pakistan’s delegate commented that the Committee must carefully evaluate when consultative or other status was given to organizations.
Belgium’s delegate agreed with Pakistan on that point, adding that the organization currently held roster status, whereas the other organization mentioned had held special status. The World Heart Federation was active worldwide and could contribute to the Council’s work. Would the Committee consider granting it special consultative status?
Kyrgyzstan’s representative said he had no problem reclassifying the organization from roster to special status, citing a similar case in a past session. Perhaps the Committee could send a letter to the group asking if it was willing to accept special rather than general status. If the group agreed, his delegation would not have a problem with that.
Israel’s delegate said it was the Committee’s prerogative to determine what status it wished to grant. Resolution 1996/31 stated that the Committee could reclassify a group following review of a quadrennial report without communication with the organization. Israel was prepared to support special consultative status.
Pakistan’s representative said the Committee was not answerable to organizations. Requests were evaluated according to its own criteria.
India’s delegate said he could only assume the Committee would approach each application in a consistent fashion. He supported Belgium’s position, drawing attention to the Council’s resolution on the matter.
Belgium’s representative said she could be flexible on the matter. Belgium could also support general consultative status.
Pakistan’s delegate said he could be flexible as well. He preferred special rather than general consultative status.
International Diabetes Federation — a Belgium-based organization committed to raising awareness, promoting care and prevention, and increasing efforts to find a cure for the different types of diabetes. It aims to promote diabetes care, prevention and a cure worldwide.
Belgium’s delegate said the organization had been active since the 1950s in more than 150 countries. As such, it was appropriate to grant it special consultative status, he said, drawing attention to the Council’s resolution.
IDP Foundation Inc. — a United States-based organization which supports programmes devoted to improving the present and future quality of life for people and organizations in need. It has three main areas of focus: health care and medical research; education, especially as it relates to the relief of poverty and gender equality through empowerment of the individual; and performing arts.
Action on the following was postponed pending responses to previously posed questions:
Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights (YCSRR) — a Canada-based group that 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 representatives of Sudan and Pakistan said they were having difficulty uploading the organization’s responses to questions previously raised.
Responding, Mr. ABRAMOV said the group’s reply had been “lost in migration” and the office did not have the original reply. The Committee would need to ask the organization to reply again to the same questions.
On that point, Belgium’s delegate voiced hope of receiving a reply quickly and revisiting the application during the session.
Pakistan’s delegate asked if the secretariat had received the response by e-mail or in hard copy.
Mr. ABRAMOV said the secretariat had received an e-mail, which had been lost. The secretariat did not keep the original 2011 e-mail, as it believed the response had been uploaded.
Sudan’s delegate said the group should not be blamed for a technical error.
Pakistan’s delegate agreed that this was a technical error and that the group should not be held responsible. Without seeing the response, he would not be able to pose any more of his questions.
Ms. TZOTZORKOVA ( Bulgaria) requested that the organization be contacted.
Concerning another question, Mr. ABRAMOV said he had met with the Legal Affairs Office regarding the address for United Hatzalah (NP). The Legal Affairs Office requested an address for the organization. He requested the Committee to include another question in the list of questions asking for its address.
Action on the following was postponed after new questions were posed:
Mundo Sin Guerras — a Madrid-based organization that aims to promote ideas and actions leading to the elimination of wars. Its methodology of action is based on active non-violence and the basis of its social doctrine and its commitment to action in the world comes from the following six points: to place the human being as the central value and concern, in such a way that nothing is above the human being and no human being is above another; to affirm the equality of all people, in the sense of equal opportunities for all; to recognize personal and cultural diversity, affirming the characteristics of each human group and condemning discrimination, whether motivated by economic, racial, ethnic, or cultural differences; to encourage every tendency to develop knowledge beyond the limitations imposed by prejudices accepted as absolute and immutable truths; to affirm the freedom of ideas and beliefs; and to repudiate all forms of violence: economic, racial, sexual, religious, moral, and psychological.
China’s delegate noted the NGO’s response explaining its intention of holding a world forum for peace in November 2011, and she requested further details.
National Secular Society — a London-based organization that seeks to support specifically the principles underlying Article 18 and Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, particularly for greater freedom for religion and belief and non-discrimination on grounds of religion and belief. It also seeks to make society more just, in which human rights are upheld and the equality of people of all religions and none is seen as paramount.
China’s delegate requested that the NGO make corrections concerning Taiwan Province of China. Also, she requested more information on the group’s activities in China, as there was one individual listed from China.
Belgium’s delegate wanted a clarification that the information sought was an individual member or members of organizations. China’s delegate responded, saying he was interested only in activities in his country.
Pakistan’s delegate said it was the right of each Member State to ask about an organization, to make a legitimate request.
The United States’ delegate also sought clarification from the Secretariat regarding such requests for information sought on members of organizations.
ANDREI ABRAMOV, Chief of the NGO Branch, explained that the names of individuals had been discussed in the Committee over the last two years. In the past four sessions, it was agreed that only organization members would be listed. The names of individuals would not be listed, nor would e-mails and addresses.
Then, Israel’s delegate supported China’s request. Pakistan’s delegate asked if the Committee had decided on those issues in writing or was it an informal decision. Belgium’s delegate said there was no need for additional information when considering consultative status of an NGO.
Noble Institution for Environmental Peace Inc. — a Canada-based group that aims to benefit all humanity through developing an understanding of and applying the principles of environmental peace, including recognition of the mutual interaction of human behaviour with the behaviours of our social, biological and physical environment. It aims to enhance human development at a rate appropriate to the environment’s capacity to recover and develop, to find natural means to regulate the human population to a similar mutual relationship with environments, and to combat climate change through agricultural policy, forest regeneration and technological innovation.
After Sudan’s representative inquired about the group’s members and activities in Sudan, the United States’ delegate asked for clarification about exactly what names, board of directors or members, were being requested. Sudan’s delegate replied that he was asking about the six NGO members listed as being in his country. Pakistan’s delegate supported Sudan’s question. Again taking the floor, the United States’ delegate said the Committee’s practice did not seek information on individual members.
China’s delegate said a distinction should be drawn on what questions about individual members are permissible. Procedural rules provided no prohibition on questions that could be asked about individuals.
Venezuela’s delegate asked that the NGO provide more details of its project, listed on its website, in her country.
Israel’s delegate pointed out that the Committee had not agreed on how to handle the issue of what questions could be asked. Instead, the Committee should discuss informally and agree together on what questions should be asked to a specific NGO.
The Committee’s Chair, Ms. TZOTZORKOVA suggested an informal meeting among delegations to rectify the disagreements and noted that the issue would be placed on the agenda of the Committee’s discussion on working methods.
Mr. ABRAMOV said the issue had lingered for years, with no written practice or recommendations or agreed-upon conclusions made outside informal discussions. In all cases, the Committee had been careful to protect the privacy of individuals.
The Scandinavian Institute for Human Rights (SIHR) — a Norway-based group that aims to disseminate the culture of human rights, especially in the Middle East, by training a new generation on the exercise of human rights; providing documentation of experience and transfer from the old generation to the next generation; translating human rights documents into several languages; and government training on the exercise of human rights.
Israel’s delegate pointed out at Dr. Loai Deeb had provided answers to questions posed to three organizations: Global Network for Rights and Development (GNRD), in which he is listed as President; International Coalition against War Criminals (ICAWC), in which he is registered as Executive Director; and SIHR. The groups GNRD and ICAWC were registered with the same address. He asked for an explanation for the relationship between those three organizations and how one individual could manage all three groups.
Scholars at Risk Network — a New York-based network of universities and colleges dedicated to defending threatened scholars and scholarly communities worldwide and to promoting academic freedom and its constituent freedoms of thought, opinion and expression without fear, discrimination, censorship, intimidation or violence. Through its outreach and organization, Scholars at Risk calls attention to the scholars and universities worldwide who suffer threats and persecution.
China’s delegate asked the NGO for its criteria for providing assistance to threatened scholars and communities.
The delegates from Israel, Belgium and the United States expressed their support for the NGO.
Second Amendment Foundation — a United States-based organization dedicated to promoting a better understanding about the Constitutional heritage in the United States to privately own and possess firearms.
Venezuela’s representative noted the organization’s high budget, and she wanted to be sure of the impact the group would have on the work of Economic and Social Council. She then asked for details on its activities and a budget breakdown, with further information on resources allocated to its projects.
Cuba’s representative also requested for more detailed information on the relationship the organization had had with the United Nations and its main bodies.
Solicitors International Human Rights Group — a United Kingdom-based organization that aims to promote awareness of international human rights within the legal profession in Britain, to mobilize solicitors into effective action in support of those rights, to encourage human rights lawyers overseas, and to conduct related missions, research, campaigns and training.
China’s delegate said answers the NGO had given included courses it conducted on human rights mechanisms. She wanted to know who was the target of the mechanisms and what the sources were of materials used.
Sri Swami Madhavananda World Peace Council — a Vienna-based organization that aims to direct, coordinate and implement activities for betterment of humanity welfare and to advance unity and peace by disseminating messages of Mahatma Gandhiji.
China’s delegate said the Dalai Lama, who was a political dissident, had been invited to participate in an event planned by that NGO. He also asked the group to clarify its position on Tibet.
The delegate from the observer delegation of Austria said she supported the NGO’s application for special consultative status.
Trustees of Boston University — a United States-based organization devoted to education, research and community. The university’s Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future is its focal point for the United Nations Economic and Social Council. The Pardee Center convenes symposiums and conducts interdisciplinary, policy-relevant, and future-oriented research that contributes to long-term improvements in the human condition. The Center’s focus is defined by its longer-range vision and is not confined to any particular set of issues and seeks to identify, anticipate, and enhance the long-term potential for human progress, in all its myriad dimensions.
China’s delegate said, while the organization had corrected previous information on Taiwan Province of China, it must be held accountable for its publications and websites, and must abide by the correct standards of United Nations terminology.
United Hatzalah (NP) — a Jerusalem-based volunteer emergency medical services organization in Israel that does not charge for its services and responds to all emergency calls without regard to religion, ethnicity, and gender.
Cuba’s representative said the organization was doing emergency medical work. However, there was a mention of public education work, which she would like more information on.
The delegate of the Russian Federation asked for clarification on the organization, which called itself a “political organization”, and wondered if that was a misprint. In addition, the group’s statement includes that it responds to all emergency calls. He asked for examples of when Palestinians were helped.
Israel’s delegate noted that all the above-mentioned questions had been answered in the organization’s application, which included details on public education, such as teaching and resuscitation. The Russian Federation delegate’s question was relevant, as a misprint was corrected, and the organization was indeed an “apolitical” entity. Further, areas served included what the United Nations refers to as the “ Occupied Palestinian Territories”. That should clarify that the organization did indeed assist Palestinians.
Pakistan’s delegate highlighted that the organization applied for status under a different name than it was registered in its country of origin. He also noted that a similar discussion recently brought the same issue to the Committee’s attention about another NGO.
The Russian Federation’s delegate was satisfied with the explanation of the “political” and “apolitical” issue. He wanted to further ask if the organization served all Palestinians.
The delegate from the United States noted that, according to the organization’s website, the group had changed its name, and she hoped that issue would be resolved.
Venezuela’s representative asked for more details on scenarios when they performed their work.
A representative of the observer delegation of Palestine sought clarification from the Secretariat if the abbreviation “(NP)” was part of their official name. He also asked about a clarification of the addresses of the organization, one of which is located in illegal settlements. He also asked that the Committee refer to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.
Israel’s delegate said “NP” could perhaps mean “non-profit”. Showing the website in Hebrew, he said “NP” had appeared as “registered organization”. He said the NGO had demonstrated that it did abide by United Nations terminology.
Mr. ABRAMOV said, after viewing the NGO’s website, nothing indicated that “NP” stood for anything but “non-profit”. If the organization was based in East Jerusalem, it should be changed to “Occupied Palestinian Territory”.
Israel’s delegate said the organization’s address was in Jerusalem.
Taking the floor again, the representative of the observer delegation of Palestine, suggested that their address be changed to “ Occupied Palestinian Territory” and that they registered with the Palestinian Authority. “They’re in Palestine; they’re not in Israel,” he said.
Again taking the floor, Israel’s delegate, said most of the organization’s operations were not in, as it is called in United Nations terminology, the “OPT”. The group also aided Palestinians. The NGO was registered in Israel, as its work was in Israel and that was where it would remain registered in this Committee. He said the practice of the Committee was to go by the address of the group’s headquarters and, therefore, there should be no further questions on the issue.
Morocco’s delegate wondered if this was an interactive debate between Committee members, or an examination of applications. Were the previous questions going to be sent to the NGO, or were they a subject of an interactive debate? he asked.
Ms. TZOTZORKOVA suggested asking the Office of Legal Affairs for advice, taking into account relevant General Assembly resolutions and the Committee’s past practices.
Morocco’s delegate explained that he had asked a question of procedure. Members of the Committee had been responding to the questions, and not the NGOs. The NGOs should have the right to answer the Committee’s questions.
Ms. TZOTZORKOVA said the questions would indeed be sent to the NGO. In the meantime, there was no harm in seeking legal advice, unless the Committee did not wish for that.
Pakistan’s delegate said questions had been answered on the “NP” issue. Valid questions from the delegates from Cuba and the Russian Federation should be answered. In addition, there was a pertinent question about legality from the representative of the observer delegation of Palestine.
Sudan’s delegate said the Committee was governed by its rules, which included asking questions and getting answers. However, today’s debate was a sign of a new trend in seeking legal advice. He hoped the Chair would accept members’ questions.
Again taking the floor, Israel’s delegate agreed with the Pakistani delegate’s summary of the situation. He said when he answered inquiries from the observer delegation of Palestine, he only meant to clarify and not to answer on behalf of the organization.
The United States’ delegate said the purpose of asking questions should be pertinent to the consideration of granting an organization status. The Committee’s mandate was clear.
Again taking the floor, the representative of the observer delegation of Palestine noted that the organization’s headquarters was listed as a post box. He said the headquarters was indeed in Occupied Palestinian Territory.
Ms. TZOTZORKOVA said the Office of Legal Affairs would examine relevant issues, and Committee members should reach an agreement on questions to be sent to the NGO.
UPR Info — a Geneva-based group aimed at promoting and strengthening the Universal Periodic Review, the United Nations mechanism which looks into the human rights situation of all United Nations Member States every four years.
Pakistan’s delegate said the group’s registration had expired and it must resend a valid registration to the NGO branch. Further, 85 per cent of its income went to salaries and he asked how the organization could sustain itself. It also had received funding from two Governments and he asked how it was able to maintain neutrality.
The United States’ delegate noted that the organization was based in Switzerland, and in that country, non-governmental organizations were not required to register with the Government. It had been constituted on 7 February 2008, which was sufficient to meet the requirements of existence for two years. The group’s purpose was to provide commentary on the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process in the Human Rights Council.
Supporting the United States’ position, Israel’s representative said the group had met its requirements. He asked the Secretariat to upload the group’s annual report or financial statement, which would assist the Committee.
Pakistan’s delegate said more information about the group would be helpful, as its certification was valid only until a certain date.
The United States representative underscored that the Committee must look at the fact the organization had existed for two years. That attestation was sufficient for the Committee to establish that point.
Venezuela’s delegate said the support documents must be enforced for the application, as that allowed the Committee to know it was working legally. She also asked which countries had attended a November 2010 conference and about the criteria for their participation.
Sudan’s representative requested information on the group’s advocacy work in Benin.
Widows for Peace Through Democracy — a United Kingdom-based organization that works to promote the status of widows in developing countries, particularly in conflict and HIV/AIDS afflicted countries. It also aims to provide information, training and capacity-building to monitor implementation of their rights enshrined in international laws and declarations.
Turkey’s delegate asked for information on the activities carried out in Iran, Iraq and Turkey, in line with the geographic terminology used on its website.
Yoga in Daily Life USA — a United States-based organization devoted exclusively to charitable and educational activity. Its mission is to promote physical, mental, social and spiritual health of humankind, as well as spiritual development and god realization, world peace, humanitarian aid, human rights, protection of all living beings, and protection of the environment.
China’s delegate said the group had a huge surplus, meaning it did not effectively use its resources to undertake its activities. He requested information on activities carried out in the last two years, particularly those that directly related to the promotion of world peace.
Sudan’s delegate said huge projects were mentioned in the application and he requested more information on “Stewards of the Air” and peacebuilding in the “Gandhian way”. Could it elaborate on how it carried out such projects with the surplus.
Pakistan’s delegate asked for more detail on how the organization would contribute to the Economic and Social Council’s work. He said 72 per cent the group’s funding went to “other” expenditures like insurance interest and he wondered how it considered itself a sustainable organization.
Geriatrics Care Foundation of Pakistan – a Pakistan-based group established to work for the welfare and well-being of the elderly in Pakistan, especially elderly female and youth and to protect them from their human rights violations.
India’s delegate wondered whether the group’s activities related to the Council’s work had increased. The justification it had provided was general in nature and the Committee required more information.
Pakistan’s delegate commented that the Committee must carefully evaluate when consultative or other status was given to organizations.
Sudan’s representative said the Committee rarely recommended roster status. Some groups had limited activities and membership.
World Council for Curriculum and Instruction — a United States-based group that aimed to collaborate in curriculum and instruction projects; engage in dialogue on global educational and social issues; and exchange ideas, concerns and solutions.
China’s group said the 2010 financial statement showed the group had a large surplus and he requested information about the effectiveness of its activities.
International Federation of Consular Corps and Associations/Federation Internationale des Corps et Associations Consulaires — a Denmark-based organization aimed at enhancing the performance of consular service on behalf of sending States and receiving States. It also works to support and improve the status, legitimacy and effectiveness of all consular officers, and encourage the establishment of new associations.
India’s delegate said the group’s spending was double its income and he requested clarity on how it could sustain itself.
Soroptimist International of the Americas — a Philadelphia-based organization of nearly 40,000 business and professional women that work in 19 countries and territories to improve the lives of women and girls in local communities and throughout the world.
Chairperson Ms. TZOTZORKOVA took note that the organization has withdrawn its application.
When attention turned to the interactive dialogue, the Committee first heard from a member from IDP Foundation, Inc., who said her group was a private foundation aimed at providing strategic support to enhance educational activities around the world. The organization supported the creation of educational content; educational training and research; and looking for new, sustainable education models. Over 75 per cent of its time and grant support had gone towards the “IDP Rising Schools” programme that addressed education in Ghana, by advocating for the inclusion of low-cost private schools in Ghana’s education strategy. It hoped to replicate that programme elsewhere.
The Committee then recommended special consultative status to IDP Foundation, Inc.
Turning to the next organization, Scholars at Risk Network, Belgium’s delegate asked its representative about its work to enhance universities and academics worldwide.
Responding, a representative of the organization said the group’s work was rooted in a belief that there was one pool of knowledge that should be available to everyone. It focused on building bridges among universities and scholars to allow States to build the higher education sector. The Network was designed to help scholars facing risk in their countries remain scholars until it was safe to return home. In that context, he cited the group’s assistance to Iraqi scholars who had fled their country. Higher education was in line with United Nations values and depended on scholars having the space to explore and test their ideas.
China’s delegate said her country had raised questions about the terminology used on its website. “ Taiwan” was listed as a country. In response to a question in the last session, the organization had explained it was not able to amend third-party statements on its site and China did not consider that a satisfactory response. Advocating third-party information that respected State sovereignty and territorial integrity was vital. She requested that the organization respect United Nations terminology, make corrections and provide a written statement attesting it would use the proper terminology in the future.
In response, the Scholars at Risk Network representative said he believed his group was in compliance with United Nations terminology. There were media stories on the site that used terms that were not consistent with United Nations terminology. “We don’t think we can edit the headline of a newspaper or television station”, he said, welcoming suggestions.
China’s delegate responded that, as an advocacy organization, it should respect State sovereignty and territorial integrity. It was responsible for the opinions and articles posted on its site.
The representative said it might be possible to state on the website that citations of news media were not the voice of the organization.
Responding to a question from Pakistan’s delegate to clarify its interaction with Governments, the representative described his organization as a solidarity programme. It tried to be a bridge between the higher education community and the human rights community in all countries. He had just returned from Istanbul, where representatives from 10 countries discussed issues including academic freedom and academic responsibility, as well as institutional autonomy and responsibility. They were “issues in balance”.
Outside of Iraq, the group had received requests from scholars in over 100 countries who felt threatened. It had helped a scholar from Spain’s Basque region, by placing that person in a university until it was safe to return home. Zimbabwe had been difficult, and in Pakistan, there had been violence against scholars by non-State forces. The organization had little engagement with States.
The representative of the Russian Federation said he had found information on the website about two Russian scholars who the group stated had been accused of espionage. He wondered if those claims had been investigated. He also wondered whether the group had published information about the killing of two Iranian scholars focused on the energy sector, and further, about countries to which it gave special attention.
Responding, the representative said he had not looked at information about the Russian scholars. The language of the letter sent to the Government was clear, requesting the State to investigate those claims. Its activity was one of dialogue and requests for information that would correct any misinformation.
With regard to updating website information, he said the Scholars at Risk Network was a small organization and sought new information every few months. It also welcomed private dialogue.
With regard to the killing of Iranians, it had issued a letter related to one of the mentioned Iranians two years ago. It had not yet sent a letter related to the more recent killing.
Finally, he said the group had received requests from over 100 countries, including the United States. It had expressed concern at the denial of entry into the United States of scholars based on what they might say upon arrival, citing Tariq Ramadan as a prominent case.
Burundi’s delegate asked about criteria used in selecting the countries in which it worked.
The representative said the Scholars at Risk Network did not have written guidelines. If it had the resources to respond to a scholar, it would, but it could never respond to all the requests it received, and thus, could not proactively target a country. Even if it did have more resources, it would not target any country, as its focus was about building bridges in the global community.
* *** *For information media • not an official record