22 May 2012
Economic and Social Council
ECOSOC/6513
NGO/753

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

Committee on NGOs

20th & 21st Meetings (AM & PM)


Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations Recommends Consultative Status


With Economic and Social Council for 26 Entities


Groups Deal with Range of Issues, Including Indigenous Peoples’ Rights,

Infant Mortality, HIV/AIDS Prevention, Assistance for People Living with Autism


The Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations today recommended 26 entities for special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council, and postponed consideration of 26 more — as well as of one request for reclassification of status — pending responses to questions posed by Committee members, as it continued its resumed 2012 session.


General, special and roster status is granted in accordance with such criteria as the applicants’ mandate, governance and financial regime.  Organizations enjoying general and special status can attend meetings of the United Nations 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 (NGO) can only attend meetings.  Organizations with general and special status must also submit a report every four years.


Picking up where it left off yesterday — the first day of its resumed session, which will run through 30 May — the Committee today continued its consideration of new applications for consultative status and new requests for reclassification, reviewing applications from organizations concerned with issues such as protecting the rights of indigenous peoples, reducing infant mortality, HIV/AIDS prevention, providing assistance to those living with autism, and defending and promoting the rights of migrants, particularly refugees.


Questions arose about the application for special status by Human Rights Foundation Inc., a United States-based national organization, self-described as an advocacy group that promotes and safeguards human rights throughout the globe, with a specialized focus on the Americas.  Several representatives said the organization provided insufficient information and claimed that its previous application had been closed when it had, in fact, been voted down both in 2008.


The representative of Cuba sought clarification on how donations to the organization were administered, while the representative of Venezuela requested information on the sources of its funding and on its spending, and claimed the group had participated in several activities intended to discredit the United Nations.  The representative of the United States said that while it was not opposed to seeking clarifications, the accusations being levelled were “a bit of a stretch”.  There was a fundamental difference of opinion about the NGO.


Also coming under questioning was the application by the Geneva Institute for Human Rights, a Switzerland-based international organization that described itself as geared to train Arabs in the field of human rights and the law, as well as in human rights mechanisms.  Several Arab country representatives wanted to know what was meant by the training of Arabs in human rights and whether that implied that Arabs did not understand human rights.  The representatives of Morocco and Sudan sought clarifications of the word “Arabs” as contained in the application, while the representative of Cuba wanted to know in what countries the organization’s future projects would be located.


In the case of the Denmark-based national organization, FN-forbundet, which says that it takes a critical and constructive stance to questions relating to the United Nations and seeks to influence the political decision-making processes to enable Denmark to act responsibly internationally, questions about the NGO, particularly by Pakistan’s representative, related to its status with the Department of Public Information.  Andrei Abramov, Chief of the NGO Unit of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, said that status with the Public Information Department only allowed an organization to observe proceedings, but not to speak, and having such status was not an obstacle to being recommended for status with the Economic and Social Council, he said.


Among the other applications eliciting questions was that of Helping Hands International Foundation Inc., which seeks to provide world assistance and to educate national leaders to empower women and children bound by situations of political, economic and social crisis in order to take them from poverty to self-sufficiency, and to empower them to meet their basic need of a medical clinic and clean water.  It is headquartered in the United States, but has a registration from Kenya.  The representative of Pakistan sought clarification about that, while the representative of Venezuela asked why the NGO claimed to work all over the world, but only mentioned three countries in its application.


The Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. tomorrow, 23 May, to continue its resumed session.


Background


The Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations met today to continue its resumed 2012 session.


Special Consultative Status for New Applications


Wahine Maori Queensland Inc. — an Australia-based national organization that aims to maintain and protect the unique cultural identity, art, language and heritage of the Maori.


Women and Children First UK — a United Kingdom-based international development organization that seeks to address the unacceptably high levels of maternal and newborn mortality and morbidity in poor communities in the developing world.


Going back to the lists from the previous day, it also approved the following:


Scottish Association for Mental Health — a national organization based in the United Kingdom dedicated to mental health and well-being for all, following clarifications from the representative of the United Kingdom.


ACT Alliance — Action by Churches Together — an international organization based in Switzerland related to the World Council of Churches and The Lutheran World Federation, which works for positive and sustainable change in the lives of people affected by poverty and injustice through coordinated and effective humanitarian, development and advocacy work.


AIDS Healthcare Foundation — a United States-based international organization whose mission is to deliver "cutting-edge medicine and advocacy, regardless of ability to pay".


Alzheimer’s Disease International:  The International Federation of Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Societies Inc. — a United Kingdom-based organization whose vision is to improve the quality of life for people with dementia and their families throughout the world.


Autism Speaks — a United States-based international organization whose goal is to change the future for all who struggle with autism spectrum disorders.  Representative of China said he had no objections.


Food & Water Watch — a United States-based international organization that works to ensure the food, water and fish consumed around the world is safe, accessible and sustainably produced.


France Terre d'Asile — an international organization that defends and promotes the rights of migrants, particularly refugees.


Global Hope Network International — an international organization based in Switzerland, which provides relief and holistic, self-sustainable community development to the poorest, hidden people in Africa, Middle East and Asia, through locally-led catalytic models of transformation


International AIDS Society — an international organization based in Switzerland aiming to lead debate and discussion on the global response to AIDS and to promote the right of all people to an evidence-based response to HIV, drawing on the evidence base created, to a large extent, by its members.


International Partners in Mission — a United States-based international organization that works across borders of faith and culture on behalf of children, women, and youth to create partnerships that build justice, peace and hope.


Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation — an international United States-based organization that seeks freedom, justice and the right to self-determination for the Indigenous Khmer-Krom peoples in southern Viet Nam.


Mali Rising Foundation — a United States-based national organization working to empower the children of Mali by expanding educational opportunities for them within their own communities.


Quaker Earthcare Witness — a United States-based international organization, which is taking spirit-led action to address the ecological and social crises of the world from a spiritual perspective, emphasizing Quaker process and testimonies.


Sakyadhita — a United States-based international organization committed to transforming the lives of women in Buddhist societies.


Stiftung Brot für alle Menschen — a Switzerland-based national organization engaged in the development of sustainable justice, supporting a vision of human solidarity and seeking to promote a dignified life for all.


The International Federation of Anti-Leprosy Associations — a United Kingdom-based organization working to coordinate the support of its members for leprosy programmes, representing their common interests and providing technical expertise to the Federation, its members and other parties.


The Japan Council against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs (Gensuikyo) — a Japanese national organization whose aim is the prevention of nuclear war, the abolition of nuclear weapons and support of and solidarity with the atomic bomb survivors.


The Worldwide Palliative Care Alliance — a United Kingdom-based international organization, exclusively on hospice and palliative care development worldwide and working to foster, promote and influence the delivery of affordable, quality palliative care.


U.S. Green Building Council — a United States-based national organization committed to a prosperous and sustainable future through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings.


U.S. Human Rights Network — a national United States-based organization that works to build a human rights movement in that country which ensures accountability to universal human rights standards, builds a human rights culture and focuses directly on those affected by human rights violations.


VDE Prüf- und Zertifizierungsinstitut GmbH — a national organization based in Germany, which collects information and experience on safety, quality, sustainability and social responsibility of the testing of electrical, mechanical, thermal, chemical, toxic, radiological and other potential hazards.


World Hunger Education Service — a United States-based international organization aiming, among other things, to inform the public and policymakers about the causes, extent and efforts to end hunger and poverty in the United States and the world.


World Space Week Association — a United States-based international organization working to support the United Nations in the global coordination of World Space Week, 4-10 October annually.


Sigma Theta Tau, National Honorary Society of Nursing, Inc. — a United States-based international organization working to support the learning, knowledge and professional development of nurses committed to making a difference in health worldwide.


Postponed New Applications


Vienna Economic Forum — an Austria-based national organization that aims to promote economic cooperation between countries and territories from the Adriatic to the Black Sea, as the representative of Pakistan requested further clarifications from the organization.


Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung:  Gesellschaftsanalyse und Politische Bildung e.V. — a national organization based in Germany that is one of the six political foundations in the country, as the representatives of Turkey and India had sought clarifications on the organization’s independence.


American Library Association — a national organization which seeks to promote library service and librarianship, as the representative of China requested further information.


Asociación Española para el Derecho Internacional de los Derechos Humanos — a Spanish organization that promotes the teaching, training, research, development and implementation of international human rights law, as the representative of China wanted to know how independent it could be and what its position was on the issue of Tibet.


Centre pour les Droits Civils et Politiques — an international Switzerland-based organization whose objective is the full implementation and worldwide respect of all human rights, as the representative of China wanted to know how the organization ensured the accuracy of its reports, since it said that it helped other organizations to prepare their own reports; the representative of the Russian Federation wanted to know what Russian organization it cooperated with and how it chose those partners.


Educació per a l'Acció Crítica — a Spain-based international organization which promotes the building of critical civil society through training on individual and collective rights and on the indivisibility and universality of fundamental human rights, as the representative of Cuba requested further details on how it selected countries in which it executed projects and how it chose its local partners.


European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights — an international organization based in Germany dedicated to protecting civil and human rights throughout Europe, as the representative of China wanted to know why it appeared to be working in other areas even though it had mentioned in its responses that it worked only in Europe.  The representative of Russian Federation wanted to know what results it expected from its work.


FN-forbundet — a Denmark-based national organization that takes a critical and constructive stance to questions relating to the United Nations and seeks to influence the political decision making processes to enable Denmark to act responsible internationally, as the representative of Pakistan wanted further clarification on the difference between the status being sought and the status with the Department of Public Information, which the organization already had.  The representatives of Cuba wanted to know how the organization was covering its deficits, and the representative of Venezuelan, noting that, although the organization reported that it was national in scope, it engaged in events in other countries, and wondered how it selected those.


ANDREI ABRAMOV, Chief of the NGO Unit of Department of Economic and Social Affairs, said that the “DPI” status was different and only allowed an organization to observe proceedings, but not to speak.  Having that status was not an obstacle to being recommended by the Committee for status with the Economic and Social Council.


The representative of Belgium noted that organizations in similar positions had been recommended for status by the Committee in the past.


Fondation Al Karama-Mc — an international organization based in Switzerland which promotes and protects human rights in the Arab world, as the representative of India noted that, although it reported that it was a regional organization, its submission showed that it had membership in all areas of the world, and asked specifically where it was working.


Fondation pour l'étude des relations internationales et du développement — a Switzerland-based national organization that seeks to provide independent and rigorous analysis of major contemporary global issues with a view to promoting international cooperation and making an academic contribution to the progress of less-developed societies, as the representative of India asked how its independence was maintained.


Friend of Istar — a United States-based international organization involved in issues of strategy and security, including problems in the biological and health sciences, political violence, educational programme development for national policymakers and the intelligence community, infrastructure protection, economic impacts of security threats and cyber-physical systems, as the representative of China said that its responses were not complete and that it failed to spell out the distribution of its 30 members.  It had also used a different name in its registration document.


Geneva Institute for Human Rights — a Switzerland-based international organization geared to train Arabs in the field of human rights and the laws, as well as in mechanisms of human rights, as the representative of Venezuela wanted more time to study the application and wanted to know about its future projects; the representative of Cuba asked in what countries such projects would be located.  The representative of Morocco asked what was meant by training of Arabs in human rights.  The representative of Sudan also sought clarification of the word “Arab” as contained in the application.  The representative of Belgium said that a detailed budget was attached to the application.


Helping Hands International Foundation — a United States-based national organization, which seeks to provide world assistance and to educate national leaders to empower women and children bound by situations of political, economic and social crisis in order to take them from poverty to self-sufficiency, and to empower them to meet their basic need of a medical clinic and clean water.  The representatives of Pakistan sought clarification as to why the registration was in Kenya, but it was headquartered in the United States, and about its claim that it had adopted a village in Kenya.  The representative of Venezuela sought clarification on why the organization stated it worked all over the world, but only mentioned three countries in its application.


Human Rights Foundation Inc — a United States-based national advocacy group that promotes and safeguards human rights throughout the globe with a specialized focus on the Americas — as concerns were raised about a past application for consultative status, as well as about the sources of the organization’s funding.


In discussing that organization, the representative of Cuba said that the information in the application was insufficient and that the organization should clarify how the donations it received were administered.  There were serious concerns regarding the application, which had been voted down in 2008.  The organization claimed wrongly that the old application had been closed.


The representative of Venezuela endorsed the concerns outlined by Cuba and requested information on the sources of funding and spending of the organization, noting that, although it was supposed to be tax exempt, taxes were shown on its application.  The delegation would also like to see the registration document, she said, noting that the organization had participated in several activities intended to discredit the United Nations.  In that regard, the representative of the United States said that while it was not opposed to seeking clarifications, the accusations being levelled were “a bit of a stretch”.  There was a fundamental difference of opinion about the NGO.


The representative of Cuba said that when an organization was not granted status, that organization could not apply again for another three years, but when an application was closed because information was not complete, a new application could be made within a shorter time period.


The representative of Nicaragua decried what she felt was a violation of the democratic processes of the Committee.  It had decided to reject the request of the organization due to several major concerns; it was unacceptable to continue discussing a matter that was clearly contrary to the purposes of the United Nations.  The organization under consideration was led by a notorious terrorist trying to overthrow legitimate Governments.  Nicaragua was deeply concerned that the organization continued to request consultative status.  There was no reason why that request should not be rejected yet again.


The representative of Belgium said that, as the application was submitted anew, it should be considered on its own merit.  It would be best to simply request more information about the origin of the organization’s funds.  Similarly, the representative of Israel said that the NGO had been honest in its new application with regard to its previous application.  There was no problem with that question, and, therefore, there was no need to request further clarification on that matter.


The representative of the United States, taking the floor again, added that the NGO had reputable human rights advocates working on its behalf and was doing reputable work.


Institute for Human Rights & Business Limited — a United Kingdom-based international organization that seeks to raise corporate standards and strengthen public policy to ensure that the activities of companies do not contribute to human rights abuses, and, in fact, lead to positive outcomes, as the representative of China raised questions about the NGO’s costs and expenses.


Institute for Practical Idealism — a United States-based international organization dedicated to promoting peace by strengthening civil society and fostering a culture of participation worldwide, as the representative of Cuba had questions about how the organization’s community leaders were chosen.


Jewish Voice Ministries International — a United States-based international organization which benefits and supports Jewish or Israelite communities around the world, as the representative of Cuba wished to know to what other countries the NGO planned to extend its activities, and what kinds of projects were planned.


Negev Coexistence Forum for Civil Equality — a national organization based in Israel, which works to promote mutual respect and understanding among the diverse communities in the Negev and bring an end to Israel's policy of discrimination against its Bedouin citizens in both the unrecognized villages and Government-planned towns, as the representative of Israel wished to know whether the NGO had conducted comparative research and whether it worked with Bedouin organizations from other countries.


Réseau International des Droits Humains — an international organization based in Switzerland working, among other things, to contribute to the realization and implementation of human rights in the countries which its works, as the representatives of Venezuela and Cuba requested information on its activities in Latin American countries.


ROKPA International — Switzerland-based international organization working to give children from the poorest backgrounds a safe environment and the opportunity of an education and training for a profession, which will lead them to independence from charity, as the representative of China asked for more information about the NGO’s activities in the Tibetan Chinese region, as well as about its funding.


Stichting Global Reporting Initiative — a Netherlands-based international organization working to make sustainability reporting standard practice by providing guidance and support to organizations, as the representative of Pakistan asked questions about the NGO’s three members from Pakistan, and about the work being carried out in that country.


The Equal Rights Trust — a national United Kingdom-based organization whose purpose is to combat discrimination and promote equality as a fundamental human right and a basic principle of social justice, as the representative of China raised questions about the organization’s financial data.


The International Coalition of Sites of Conscience — a United States-based international organization dedicated to remembering past struggles for justice and addressing their contemporary legacies, as the Russian Federation representative had a question about the broad scope of the NGO’s activities, and whether former concentration camps and other memorial sites would be included.


The Simons Foundation — a Canada-based national organization working to advance positive change through education in peace, disarmament, international law and human security, as the representative of China sought more information about the groups that the organization had sponsored and about its activities in China.


Un Ponte Per… — an Italy-based national organization working to prevent conflicts, especially in Near East and Serbia, by setting up advocacy campaigns, cultural exchanges and international cooperation programmes, as the representative of Turkey asked the organization to amend the terminology on its website and to adhere to the correct United Nations terminology in the future.


Requests for Reclassification


International Institute of Administrative Sciences — an international organization based in Belgium working to improve the organization and operation of public administration, was seeking an upgrade of status from special to general consultative status.


The representative of Pakistan asked about the organization’s original application, which had been filed in 1947.  The representative of India said that the organization should provide a more comprehensive justification for why it wished to upgrade its status.  The representative of Belgium disagreed, saying that the application for reclassification was in line with the requirements for general consultative status.


The Committee then decided to postpone its consideration of that request.


Interactive session


During the Committee’s traditional question-and-answer session, it considered the application Hokok Coalición Internacional Contra la Impunidad, a Spanish international organization which worked to defend human rights and to denounce violations of the rights of civilian populations, including war crimes and crimes against humanity.  It first heard a short introduction from a founding member of the organization.


The representative of Sudan asked which peoples and countries were defended by the organization.  In particular, did it have any activities in Africa, and where did they take place?  Which organizations, if any, did the NGO work with on that continent?  The representative of India also asked about an apparent discrepancy in the organization’s registration in Lebanon.


The representative of the NGO answered that the organization was registered in Spain, but maintained an office in Lebanon.  Hokok was active in the Middle East, he said.  The organization did not yet have any activities in Africa; however, it registered allegations of human rights abuses on that continent.


The representative of Israel had further questions about the organization’s small budget, and about how it financed its activities.  The representative of the organization answered that the NGO was indeed “poor” and made do on extremely limited resources.  The representative of Israel also had questions about individuals working with Hokok in advisory positions, and about how they were appointed.  In response, the NGO representative said that those individuals worked on a voluntary basis.  The representative of Israel said, however, that that response did not fully answer the question.


The Committee then asked the organization to submit a more detailed response with regard to that question, and postponed its consideration.


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For information media • not an official record