|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Committee on NGOs
3rd & 4th Meetings (AM & PM)
Committee on NGOs Recommends Special Consultative Status for 35 Civil Society
Organizations, 2 for General Status, Postpones Action on 43 Applicants
The Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) today continued its careful scrutiny of applicants seeking consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council, adding 37 new organizations to the more than 3,500 NGOs admitted since the Committee’s launch in 1946, while postponing consideration of 43 new applications pending responses to questions posed by Committee members.
The 19-member Committee recommends to the Council general, special or roster status, in accordance with such criteria as the civil society applicant’s mandate, governance and financial regime. Today it recommended 35 for special status and 2 for general. Organizations enjoying general and special status can attend the Council’s meetings and circulate statements, while those with general status can, in addition, address meetings and propose agenda items. Roster-status non-governmental organizations (NGOs) can only attend meetings.
Picking up where it left off yesterday — the first day of its regular session, which will run through 8 February — the Committee returned its attention to Pragya, a national India-based organization, self-described as working for the development of vulnerable communities and sensitive ecosystems and delivering an array of services to isolated and under-served communities, while building their capacity to help themselves. Recalling a question and answer exchange of yesterday with one of its representatives, Committee members today decided to grant the organization special consultative status.
Over the course of the day, a dialogue took shape concerning the eligibility of some organizations for general consultative status — a designation that typically refers to fairly large, established NGOs with a broad geographical reach. That designation contrasts with that of special status, which applies to organizations that deal specifically with only a few fields of activity covered by the Economic and Social Council.
The discussion was prompted by the Committee’s consideration of, among others, Biovision Stiftung für ökologische Entwicklung, a Switzerland-based organization aiming to combat poverty and improve living conditions in Africa. The Committee initially afforded the organization special consultative status, but, responding to requests from a multitude of delegates to upgrade that designation, later decided to reclassify it under the general status category.
General Consultative Status
The Committee also recommended general consultative status for:
Gazeteciler ve Yazarlar Vakf – a Turkish international organization which seeks to promote social responsibility, education and dialogue in order to resolve the challenges of poverty, ignorance and disunity.
The representative of Turkey stated his Government’s strong support for the organization, and said that it should be granted general consultative status. The representative of India joined in that call.
The Committee then granted the organization general consultative status.
Special Consultative Status
The following were recommended for special consultative status:
Pragya — an Indian national organization working for the development of vulnerable communities and sensitive ecosystems of the world, in particular reaching the most remote and difficult regions
Smile Foundation — an Indian national organization working for holistic development of underprivileged children, youth and women in the areas of education, health, girl child empowerment and livelihood.
The Bread of Life Development Foundation — a national Nigerian organization working to advocate for the development and implementation of pro-poor polices and programmes in the water and sanitation sector; to monitor water sector reform processes to ensure public participation, openness and accountability; and to use media to increase awareness and public understanding of water and sanitation and environmental issues in Nigeria.
The Diabetic Association of Sri Lanka – a national Sri Lanka-based organization whose aim is to identify diabetes risk factors and correct them through a low cost, low tech preventive strategy utilizing the services of non-medical personnel.
The Federation of Women Groups — a Kenyan national organization working to promote a democratic society in which women enjoy their rights by eradication of customs, cultures and traditions which undermine their participation in the political, social and economic sphere, hence becoming an agent of positive change, and pillars of development.
The Sant Nirankari Mandal, Delhi — an Indian international organization aiming to spread “Divine knowledge” globally, and focused on individual transformation.
There was a discussion regarding the visibility of information found on the organization’s registration certificate.
Tour Operation et Initiatives — a national organization based in the Democratic Republic of Congo working to combat poverty through the realization of socio-economic development projects.
Uganda Management Assistance Programme — a national Uganda-based organization aiming to provide effective services to the local community in capacity-building, anti-corruption advocacy, human rights, environmental management, peace and conflict resolution, women’s empowerment, education and other areas.
African Centre for Community and Development — an international organization based in Germany, which aims to support disadvantaged and underprivileged people, especially young people, in Cameroon and Africa, and to promote their physical and mental development via education, capacity-building, training, arts, social capital mobilization, enterprise approaches, and so forth.
Albert B. Sabin Vaccine Institute, Inc. — a national, United States-based organization working to reduce needless human suffering from vaccine-preventable and neglected tropical diseases through innovative vaccine research and development; and to advocate for improved access to vaccines and essential medicines for citizens around the globe.
The representative of Pakistan raised questions about the organization’s finances, adding that he hoped the Committee could return to its consideration of the organization during the current session. The Chair provided guidance, which satisfied the questions of the representative of Pakistan.
Association pour le Developpement de la Societe Civile Angolaise (ADSCA) – a national organization based in Angola aimed at the promotion and protection of human rights, and to the implementation of social impact projects for community development.
During the Committee’s consideration of the organization, the representative of Cuba asked why it was on the list of organizations from the North, if in fact it was based in Angola. The Chief of the NGO Branch, Andrei Abramov, then explained that it had been listed in error.
Centre d'Information et de Conseil des Nouvelles Spiritualites — a national, France-based organization promoting the peaceful respect for fundamental rights of thinking, conscience and religion in line with the European Convention on Human Rights.
Chicago T.A.S.C. Inc. — a national, United States-based organization that provides behavioural health recovery management services for individuals with substance abuse and mental health disorders.
Confederation Europeenne des Cadres (CEC) — a national, France-based organization striving for European integration and contributing, along with other social partners, to continuous research on a fairer balance between the economic performance of enterprises and the guarantee of incomes and social protection for the workforce.
Corps de Reflexion et de Planification pour l’Utilite Sociale (CORPUS) — a national Swiss organization implementing positive development activities for young people in Switzerland.
Disarm Education Fund Inc. — a national, United States-based organization which works, through strategic partnerships with popular social movements in developing countries, to promote a foreign policy based on human rights and human needs.
Fundacion Proacceso ECO, Asociacion Civil — a national, Mexico-based organization aimed at reducing the digital divide by providing access to quality education and technology in low-income communities in Mexico.
Global Deaf Connection – a national, United States-based organization which partners with Governments in the African Union and Caribbean Community to include people with disabilities in nation-building activities.
Institut Jules-Destree — an international organization based in Belgium and working to drive reflexion and action in regional development, including by bringing attention to their European and global dimensions.
Interchurch Medical Assistance, Inc. — a United States-based international organization working to restore health, hope and dignity to those most in need, primarily in the developing world.
LICHT FUR DIE WELT — Christoffel Entwicklungszusammenarbeit — a national organization based in Austria which provides health services and medical treatment, particularly for eye diseases, but also rehabilitation services for persons with other impairments.
The representative of Austria supported the organization.
National Advocates for Pregnant Women Inc. — a national United States-based organization working to secure the human and civil rights, health and welfare of all women, focusing particularly on pregnant and parenting women and those who are most vulnerable.
NGO Coordination post Beijing Switzerland — a national Swiss organization working towards the coordination or organization and groups aimed at the implementation of the Beijing Platform of Action of 1995.
African Development Association — a national association based in Cameroon with a mission to empower youth and women and the masses in the domain of decision-making, youth employment, human rights, the improvement of the governance system of the country, prevention of HIV/AIDS and the mitigation of its impact on individuals and the family.
Centre for Environment and Development — a national NGO based in Sri Lanka, self-described as a “think tank and concept builder, research and policy institute, watchdog group, and campaigner” with main work areas revolving around the concept of “creating a better world”. It operates through the main thematic areas of sustainable development and social justice.
Colectiva Mujer y Salud — a national Dominican organization with a mission to promote the comprehensive health of women in every step and condition of their lives, through defense of their human rights, especially sexual rights and reproductive rights.
Observatorio Mexicano de la Crisis, Asociacion Civil ——a national organizationself-described as a centre of scientific research enabling researchers and economic, political and social actors to have access to the information necessary to optimize their decision-making processes.
Tlachinollan; Grupo de Apoyo a los Pueblos Indios de la Monta’a — a national human rights organization based in Mexico with a mission "to promote and defend the rights of the Naua, Na Savi, Me'phaa and non-indigenous peoples in La Montaña and Costa Chica from an integral cultural perspective and help to create legitimate and peaceful means to ensure respect for their human rights".
Painted Children UK Limited — an international organization based in the United Kingdom, which aims at the relief of sickness and distress, the preservation of health, the relief of poverty and the advancement of education of children and young mothers living in Nepal, Maldives, and Bangladesh.
Public Union of the Citizens “International Centre of Education of Georgian and German Women” — a Georgian-based national organization, which implements civic education programmes and strives to integrate a gender approach to democracy-building efforts in Georgia as well as to build and mainstream resources of different society groups (primarily women) into reform processes there.
The Institute for Conscious Global Change, Inc. — a national United States-based organization, which has as its primary activity the Virtual Global Earth Project. The Institute’s mission is to gather relevant data, in coordination with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the Inter-Agency and Expert Group on Millennium Development Goals Indicators led by the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat, and other data gathering bodies. The aim is to design a Virtual Globe, making the needs of each country more visible and accessible.
US Women Connect — a national United States-based organization, which was founded in 1996 to monitor women’s progress with the Beijing Agenda following the International Women’s Conference in 1995. The purpose of the US Women Connect is to amplify the voices of United States women in government policy and action, by connecting groups and organizations working on common issues for collective action.
USA Mali Charitable Association of NYC — a national United States-based NGO. The organization was established to help Americans and the Malian community in the United States to understand the Malian community. The organization has established in the Bronx, NY, the first Malian cultural centre in the United States. It serves as an educational centre for everyone focusing on woman and children. The purpose is to enlighten the community of the gifts Mali and the United States have to offer.
Young Professionals Forum — an international United States-based NGO aimed at promoting and providing positive youth development through specialized projects. These projects provide comprehensive support services and opportunities for change to help them succeed in achieving their academic and life set goals.
Action on the following was postponed pending responses to previously posed questions:
Shikhar Chetna Sangathan — an Indian national organization aiming to establish equality, brotherhood and democratic values in the society and help the poorest of poor individuals — as responses to questions previously posed by the Committee had not yet been received.
South Asia Partnership Pakistan — a national Pakistani organization working to create an enabling environment for participatory governance and sustainable collective action for peace, human security and regional cooperation at the South Asian level, through organization of the marginalized sections of society and development of their capacities — as responses to questions previously posed by the Committee had not yet been received.
Zeitgeist —the Spirit of the Times — national, India-based organization working to bring about a new era of environmental, socioeconomic, health and cultural development, with a special emphasis on tourism - as responses to questions previously posed by the Committee had not yet been received.
Comision para la Investigacion de Malos Tratos a las Mujeres – a national Spain-based organization working on social intervention, investigation, denunciation, and prevention of all forms of violence against women - as responses to questions previously posed by the Committee had not yet been received.
Eagle Eyes Association for Afghan Displaced Youth — a national United Kingdom-based organization working to relieve poverty and sickness, and for such other charitable purposes in Afghanistan and/or elsewhere— as responses to questions previously posed by the Committee had not yet been received.
Fahamu Trust — an international, United Kingdom-based organization aimed at the promotion of respect for human rights and human dignity, education, alleviation of poverty and the use of information and communications technologies — as responses to questions previously posed by the Committee had not yet been received.
Regional Public Foundation Assistance for the Elderly “Dobroe Delo” – a national NGO based in the Russian Federation, which monitors compliance with economic, social and cultural rights of the elderly at the local, regional and national level, and, among other things, conducts analysis of existing and proposed legislation relating to the rights and interests of the elderly.
Al-Marsad, the Arab Centre for Human Rights in the Golan Heights (R.A.) — a national NGO that works on a local, regional and international platform to address the struggles of war, colonialism and occupation, and to help develop a culture of respect for human rights and principles of humanitarian law. It strives to protect and promote human rights and respect the rule of law in the occupied Golan and encourage commitment to international law, human rights and humanitarian law.
Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights — a national human rights organization, which, since its establishment in 1992, describes itself as having been at the forefront of efforts to protect civil, political, economic and social rights in Cambodia and to promote respect for these rights by the Cambodian Government and institutions.
Egyptian Association for Dissemination and Development of Legal Awareness — a national NGO aimed at raising awareness on legal and constitutional rights; empowering women and youth to exercise the rights of participation, community development and positive interaction in the community; and, among others, mobilizing civil society organizations to defend the rights of its members.
Litha Labantu — a national South Africa-based organization aimed at providing immediate access to support and education services around violence against women and children; counseling to survivors of violence; and, among other things, training that empowers women to participate in individual and community development.
Initiative for Environment, Health and Social Development — a national “indigenous” Nigerian NGO involved in community development services that seeks to improve disadvantaged communities and also runs consultancy services as the case may be as part of its sustainable development plan.
Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Center — a national association self-described as a “fully fledged Palestinian non-governmental organization” with a vision to establish a democratic Palestinian society, free from occupation and governed by justifiable laws, and a mission to defend victims of human rights violations, according to local and international humanitarian and human rights laws.
Kazakhstan Criminological Association — a national organization aimed at, among others, assisting in the process of developing a legal State in Kazakhstan; coordinating activities of the Association's members oriented to the assistance in developing the criminological science and use of applied knowledge in this field; and representing the interests of members of the association in the State and other bodies, organizations and institutions, in international organizations and foreign countries.
Action on the following was postponed after new questions were posed:
SKG Sangha — an Indian international organization which installs “bio-digesters” through projects in Asia, Africa, Europe, Central and South America, aiming to make improvements on economic, social and cultural issues — as the representative of Pakistan wished to know which countries the NGO was active in, and asked for specific information about Government funding.
Tabitha Cumi Foundation — a national Nigerian faith based non-governmental organization which aims to improve systems and structures put in place for women and children in the society — as the representative of Belgium asked for more information on the organization’s potential work with the Economic and Social Council.
Solidarite Agissante pour le Developpement Familial (SADF) — a national organization based in the Democratic Republic of Congo engaged in the promotion of socio-economic activities contributing to alleviating the suffering of poor families — as the representative of Morocco said that he was unable to access documents relating to the organization’s date of registration.
Committee Chair Maria Pavlova Tzotzorkova (Bulgaria) acknowledged that the link to those documents was not functioning, and postponed discussion of that organization pending technical assistance. Mr. Ambramov then said that the issue had been resolved.
The Kuki Organization for Human Rights Trust — an international organization based in India and aiming to promote peace and harmony, to educate and guide the general public about the changing world and to protect youths against drugs and HIV, among other goals — as the representative of India asked for more specific information about the organization’s projects and activities.
During the Committee’s consideration of the organization, the representatives of Morocco and India said they were experiencing technical problems and asked for assistance. In response, supporting documents were displayed on the screen, allowing delegates to view the inaccessible information.
Unnayan Onneshan — a national organization based in Bangladesh which undertakes research for advancing ideas and building constituencies for social transformation — as the representative of Pakistan asked for more information about the organization’s activities, as well as its registration outside of Bangladesh.
World Shelter Organisation — an international, India-based organization working to provide shelter to homeless people in developing and under-developed countries — as the representative of Pakistan asked for more information regarding the organization’s contribution to the work of the United Nations, as well as its finances.
Artfully AWARE, Inc. — an international organization based in the United States, which uses the arts as an important tool for social improvement and emotional recovery of persons who have suffered from traumatic events, disabilities, or inadequate living conditions — as the representative of Venezuela asked for a list of organizations that belonged to the NGO.
Asia Journalist Association — an international organization based in the Republic of Korea which is dedicated to the fulfilment of truthful and impartial reporting, the realization of press freedom and the advancement of journalism in close cooperation with journalists of Asia — as the representative of China asked for more information about the projects carried out by the organization in China.
Canterio International for Sustainable Development — an international organization based in the United States aiming to mitigate the impact of the HIV/AIDS crisis on orphans and vulnerable children in poor African countries by addressing fundamental issues such as access to education and proper nutrition — as the representative of Pakistan had questions about its expenditures. He also said that, while the organization had provided responses to answers previously posed, some of those responses remained unclear.
Earth Child Institute, Inc. – an international, United States-based organization dedicated to all issues relating to children, environment and education for sustainable development — as the representative of Pakistan asked for more information about the organization’s funding and its specific projects, as well as about apparent discrepancies in the organization’s membership and staff lists.
Institute of Asian Culture & Development — an international organization based in the Republic of Korea which offers long-term assistance in the areas of education and training, community development and medical services in its endeavour to build peaceful and fair communities — as the representative of China posed a question about the organization’s members.
Kyung Hee University — a national organization based in the Republic of Korea which is a non-profit, private University working to promote world peace, human welfare, and international understanding through higher education and related research — as the representative of Pakistan questioned the eligibility of a University, as opposed to an organization, in applying for consultative status with the Economic and Social Council.
The representative of Israel cited some of the explanation given by the organization in its application, and agreed that further clarification could be given.
Le Conseil des Jeunes Congolais de l’Etranger (CJCE) – an international, Switzerland-based organization aiming to promote and defend the common interests of Swiss Congolese and other immigrants — as the representative of Venezuela asked the organization to forward some details on its income and expenditure.
Maria and Liberdade Foundation — an international, United Kingdom-based organization whose aim is to enhance the capacity of African women by working towards their lifelong education and by promoting the status of women in leadership and decision-making, in public and private arenas, among other goals — as the representative of Venezuela requested more information about the organization’s income from contracts.
Population Connection — a United States-based national organization, which works to ensure that every woman around the world who wants to space or limit her childbearing has access to the health services and contraceptive supplies she needs in order to do so.
The representative of Pakistan asked why the organization with Economic and Social Council status had reapplied for only a name change, and also why it considered itself a national NGO when it mentioned that it had activities in other countries.
The representative of Morocco asked about the issue of limiting the number of children per women in the context of world population growth and food availability, saying there were other factors endangering food availability and not just population growth. The delegate also had questions about the budget, specifically concerning how the funds were used and the nature of the activities.
The representative of Belgium noted that the application stated that the NGO’s aim was to stabilize world population by advocating more funding for family planning. He pointed out that as a non-profit organization, the NGO did not have to stipulate the ways it was using private funding for public advocacy.
The representative of Morocco called on the Belgian representative not to reply for the NGO, saying that the Committee members should not do that. When he spoke of the NGO’s projects, he was not implying that they were necessarily investment projects; his question concerned the nature of the activities to which some $2.4 million was being allocated.
Abiodun Adebayo Welfare Foundation – a national Nigerian-based NGO with the main objective of reducing poverty among the elderly members of the organization, providing scholarships with an educational purpose to deserving members, and, among others, economically empowering youth and elders through vocational training.
The representative of Israel posed a question about income versus expenditure, and how the NGO carried out its activities with such a small budget.
The representative of Belgium, noting that the application said the NGO had participated in United Nations conferences, asked which ones and when.
Addameer Prisoners Support and Human Rights Association — a Palestinian NGO with a focus on supporting Palestinian prisoners and detainees, in addition to groups and individuals whose civil and political rights have been violated, within the framework of international human rights law and humanitarian law.
The representative of Israel — asked if the applicant could clarify the statement that it was registered under the name “Israel Finnish” if it appeared that it was registered under a different name.
The representative of the United States — asked the applicant to clarify its affiliation with the Popular Front for the Organization of Palestine.
Al-Maqdese for Society Development — a national Israel-based organization working for Palestinians to fully enjoy their political, social, economic, cultural and civil rights and, specifically, to maintain the Palestinian demographic in Jerusalem, raise awareness about their rights, and monitor, document and disseminate information about Israeli rights violations.
The representative of Israel asked about projects conducted with various United Nations agencies.
Asabe Shehu Yar’Adua Foundation — a national Nigerian-based NGO focused on campaign and research on HIV/AIDS, combating sexual harassment and promoting children’s rights, poverty reduction, and, among others, the provision of humanitarian services and clean and sustainable water in the rural area.
The delegate from Belgium sought more details on the NGO’s income source.
Association for Defending Victims of Terrorism — a national Iranian-based association comprised of families who have lost one of their “dearest members due to the ominous phenomenon of terrorism”, functions as a cultural society, which aims to disclose the terrorist and cultic nature of terrorist groups and to give a voice to the terror victims of the world and send their call for justice to all freedom-seekers.
The representative of Belgium asked for clarification about the NGO’s aims.
Corporacion para la Investigacion, el Desarrollo Sostenible y la Promocion Social CORPROGRESO — a national Colombia-based NGO whose main aim is to improve the quality of life and well-being of vulnerable Colombian communities, through programs that are consistent with State national policies and the population needs and aim at the organization's sustainability.
The representative of Venezuela asked for a clarification about its status as a “national” organization when its activities were international in scope. If it wanted to be international, perhaps it could change its text and give the Committee some examples of the work it did on a global scale, he said.
Hokok Coalicion Internacional Contra la Impunidad — a Lebanese-based international organization aimed at pursuing universal criminals who have violated the safety and security of the people, and who face severe sufferings and repression from a given party of power. It aims also at spreading justice and peace in the global community.
The representative of Israel noted that the organization had described itself as international and wondered how it carried out its activities with a budget of about $1,000.
Iranian Vegetable Oil Industries Association — a national Iranian-based NGO aimed at expanding private sector activities in the economy of Iran and creating more jobs and decreasing the country's unemployment.
The representative of Israel asked why such work was necessary for a vegetable oil industry association and how it could contribute to the Economic and Social Council if, as had been learned, the organization discriminated against certain religions. That, he said, contravened the United Nations Charter.
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.
A representative of the Secretariat, explaining that he was replying to a question submitted by the United States, described the process of reviewing applications, which also involved diligent work on that past history of an NGO. The organization was granted special consultative status in 1985 and withdrawn in 2006. The application for this organization, which he had, did not provide this information. So that information was included by the NGO Branch.
The representative of the United States said the delegation found it problematic that an organization would not accurately represent the facts on its application, and asked that a question be forwarded to the applicant as to why it had not disclosed its former Economic and Social Council accreditation. Committee members might recall that the NGO was withdrawn in 2006, the delegate said, based on evidence it had with ties to terrorist organizations that included Al-Qaida and Hamas. Those were very grave facts, and it was not consistent with the goals of the Committee to now accredit this organization. The United States would seek to close this application to the extent that it was the same one, but given its belief in due process, it would give the NGO an opportunity to respond.
The representative of Sudan concurred that the NGO was withdrawn in 2006, but said that the Committee had taken a “very hasty” decision at the time. He also recalled that the vote had indicated a significantly divided Committee, which reflected the importance of the NGO’s projects. The NGO had exhausted the process flowing from the issues that had been raised in 2006 and had reapplied three years later, in a way that was “very accurate and in a proper manner”. It was a very important group in Africa and elsewhere and it should have the right to reapply for status in accordance with resolution 1996/31.
The representative of the United States recalled that the original decision to withdraw status had been taken by consensus but that a decision to reconsider that decision had been voted upon. The delegate urged the Committee to “be very clear on these allegations” before making a determination presently.
After considerable back and forth between the two delegations, the Secretariat sought to clarify the question being posed to the applicant, specifically why it had not disclosed its former status with the Council and subsequent withdrawal.
The representative of the United States said that was one of the questions, but the applicant should also be asked to respond to evidence against it that it maintained connections with particular terrorist organizations, including Al-Qaida, Hamas, and “AIAI”, which was listed by the United Nations “1267” Committee.
The representative of Sudan said the Committee’s record should reflect the responses of the NGO at that time, which satisfied many of the members that the NGO had “no connection” with those mentioned terrorist organizations or any other. It was conducting “purely relief work”. “Let us wait and see how the NGO is going to respond to these needed clarifications.” If the NGO did not fulfil all the necessary requirements, it could not be an NGO in Sudan, which itself had a strenuous vetting process.
The representative of the United States said the question was intended to give the NGO an opportunity to respond, but the delegation had “ongoing information up to now that this organization maintains affiliations with terrorist organizations”.
Kejibaus — a Nigerian based national organization designed to talk to youth in particular about how to be self-developed persons and, at the same time, aid in the development of Nigerian society at large. It seeks to care for “the old ones by showing love to them as they were children and keep seeking for those that can donate for their needs”.
The representative of Belgium asked the NGO to clarify to what extent its activities could contribute to the Economic and Social Council’s work.
The representative of Pakistan asked for an explanation about how such limited resources — $600 — made it possible for the NGO to do its job.
Movement for the Protection of the African Child (MOPOTAC) — an international Nigerian-based NGO aimed at promoting, protecting and defending the legal rights and liberty of children and young persons under the constitution and international legal instruments; promoting and supporting the welfare, education, political interest, social and economic rights of children and young persons in Africa; promoting the adoption and application of bills and international documents (charters and conventions) on social, economic and political rights of children and young persons through litigation and legislative advocacy; and collating and cooperating with other local, national and international non-governmental organizations with similar aims and objectives.
The representative of Pakistan asked how an international NGO working in four countries could have an impact if its income was, say, $1 and its expenditure was $10. He said he did not know how else to pose the question.
The representative of Belgium posed a similar question.
Okogun Odigie Safewomb International Foundation — a national Nigerian-based NGO, which collaborates with national and international agencies for the advancement of women and youths in order to, among other things, empower women and youth to be right in their decisions, appropriate actions and associations in matters concerning human rights of women and the unborn child. The NGO promotes the right to life through reproductive health agenda and pregnancy resource centers. It also aims to achieve gender mainstreaming, preserve authentic positive values, promote civic responsibilities, carry out guidance and counseling in order to empower women and youth as well as to produce and identify role models for the advancement of the general society.
The representative of Belgium sought a clear copy of the NGO’s financial statement.
When the Committee turned to its interactive segment with NGO representatives, it heard first from a member of Afrikaanse Forum vir Burgerregte, also known as Afri-Forum, a national South African organization whose stated aim is the advancement or advocacy of democracy and the protection of human rights, and in particular minority rights in South Africa.
The representative of Burundi requested more information about the organization’s funding, in particular its philanthropic donors. The representative of the organization responded that Afri-Forum did not receive government or corporate funding, but was almost exclusively funded by private individuals. While he was not sure what “philanthropic contributions” referred to on the organization’s application, there were sometimes funding events, such as music festivals, that might fall under that category. The NGO also received initial loans from a trade union at its inception, but now operated completely separate from it, he said.
The representative of China said that there was a discrepancy in the number of members. Its membership was listed as 22,000; however, in recent responses to Committee questions, that number had increased to 32,000. He asked for clarification. The representative of the organization responded that Afri-Forum’s membership was rapidly increasing, at the rate of about 1,000 members per month.
The representative of Cuba requested further details about the purposes of the organization, including the programmes which the African Forum had developed in the fields of youth leadership and development. In response, the NGO representative described several programmes, including a student leadership tour and various campaigns on local issues.
Responding to a question posed by the representative of Sudan, who asked for information about its resources, particularly those listed under the category “other sources”, and about its focus on particular minority groups, the NGO representative said that he did not know what “other sources” referred to, but reiterated that it had received initial loans from a trade union at its inception. Regarding the organization’s focus on minorities, he said that there was no focus on a particular minority group, but instead that the organization dealt with civil rights and focused on the protection of minority groups in general.
The representative of Morocco also asked about the organization’s budget, in particular figures that reflected revenue. He wondered if the organization was indeed an NGO with “non-gainful purposes”. The NGO representative responded that the organization was properly registered as a non-gainful “company” under South African law. The organization took a business-like approach to much of its work, he said, adding that it did possess certain investments in order to remain “financially healthy”. It did not engage in any activities outside of the legal framework, he stressed.
The representative of India also inquired about the organization’s finances, asking the why legal and administrative expenses accounted for so much of its budget. The NGO representative responded that litigation was one of the main activities in which the organization was engaged, which accounted for that expenditure.
The representative of China asked about the management structure and the membership of the NGO, given that it stood for the rights of minorities. In response, the organization’s representative said that its membership was open to any member of the public, and described some its overall gender and language distribution.
The Chair said that the organization would be considered for consultative status tomorrow.
The Committee turned next to the organization East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project, a national organization based in Uganda which was designed 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.
The representative of Belgium wondered about some activities, listed on the NGO’s application, which included the hosting of seminars for European Union diplomatic staff. The organization’s representative responded that certain acts had been adopted by the European Union on the rights of human rights defenders. The NGO’s seminars were aimed at raising awareness of those rights, particularly the rights of human rights defenders working in situations of conflict.
The representative of Sudan asked about specific projects being conducted by the organization in Sudan, and asked whether the NGO was national, as stated in its application, or regional, as suggested by its name. In response, the representative of the organization said that the organization’s regional work was mostly related to training. The organization engaged with the Advisory Council of Sudan to “transmit voices from the ground”, he said, and also worked with the Sudanese Government at various levels. With regard to the NGO’s scope, he explained that there was no regional registration available in the Horn of Africa, and instead the organization worked as a network based nationally in Uganda.
The representative of Sudan then asked about the European Union guidelines that guided the NGO in its advocacy work, and requested more information on the applicability of those guidelines in the Horn of Africa. He also asked about the NGO’s relationship with the Sudanese Advisory Council.
The NGO rep responded that its work was not guided by the European Guidelines on Human Rights, but instead it engaged as an independent actor on the ground. In regard to the Sudanese Council on Human Rights, the NGO engaged with that Council on the regional and international level, but was not accountable to that body.
The representative of Venezuela asked for more information on the organization’s activities, which she said could be provided in writing in order to save time. The representative of China also asked about the status of the organization’s application, which was not up to date.
The Chair said that the consideration of the organization’s consultative status would be postponed pending its responses to the questions posed.
The Committee turned next to the organization ICW Global Comunidad Internacional de Mujeres viviendo con VIH - SIDA, Asociacion Civil, an international organization based in Argentina and aiming to provide support for women, girls and adolescents living with HIV/AIDS in the exercise of their rights and in the changes that can be done to improve their quality of life.
The representative of Nicaragua asked for more information about the organization’s specific projects in Latin America. In response, the organization’s representative said that its work varied from country to country. Nicaragua had been participating in some important projects, she said, and suggested that the representative examine the NGO’s website for specific information.
The Committee then granted special consultative status to the organization.
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