The Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations today recommended 11 organizations for special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council, and deferred action on the status of 40 others.
The 19-member Committee vets applications submitted by non-governmental organizations (NGOs), recommending general, special or roster status on the basis of such criteria as the applicant’s mandate, governance and financial regime. Organizations enjoying general and special status can attend meetings of the Council and issue statements, while those with general status can also speak during meetings and propose agenda items. Organizations with roster status can only attend meetings.
Action on several applications was postponed because Committee members wanted more information from the candidates about, among other things, details of their respective organizations’ projects, partners, expenditures, sources of funding, and possible link to terrorist organizations.
Also during the meeting, the Committee unanimously elected Ana Pena (Peru) to serve as Committee Vice-Chair and Rapporteur.
The Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations will meet again at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, 29 January, to continue its session.
Special Consultative Status
The Committee recommended that the Economic and Social Council grant special consultative status to the following 11 organizations:
Clean Energy Council Limited (Australia);
Down Syndrome International (United Kingdom);
EMDR Humanitarian Assistance Programs, Inc. (United States);
Foundation for the International Network of Museums for Peace (Netherlands);
International Food and Beverage Alliance (IFBA) (Switzerland);
Optimistes Sans Frontières (Belgium);
Solar Electric Light Fund (United States);
Stichting Eurad (Europe Against Drugs) (Netherlands);
The Law Society (United Kingdom);
Union Women’s Center (Georgia); and
Vues et Voix (Canada).
The Committee postponed consideration of the following 40 organizations:
Climate Parliament (United Kingdom) — as China’s representative asked the organization to use the correct United Nations terminology for Taiwan;
Committee to Protect Journalists, Inc. (United States) — as the representative of the Russian Federation sought clarification about pressure by the organization on The Guardian with regard to Edward Snowden and whether that pressure included censorship. The representative of Cuba asked for detailed information about the organization’s activities in Cuba since 2011;
Dharma Drum Mountain Buddhist Association (United States) — as China’s representative asked for clarification on the organization’s position on Tibet;
Dialogue Interreligieux Monastique (United States) — as the representative of China asked the organization to further clarify its position on Tibet;
Fondation Alkarama (Switzerland) — as the representative of the United States questioned alleged ties between the NGO’s president and a terrorist organization. The representative informed the Committee that her delegation would ask that this application be closed out at the May session;
Freedom from Hunger (United States) — as the representative of China asked that the organization use proper United Nations terminology for Taiwan Province of China;
Freedom Now (United States) — as the representative of China asked for clarification on the organization’s use of the term “prisoners of conscience”. The representative of Cuba asked for detailed information about the organization’s activities in her country;
Geneva Institute for Human Rights (GIHR) (Switzerland) — as the representative of Cuba asked whether the organization had undertaken any activities in Latin America since first presenting its application. The representative of Nicaragua asked in which Latin American countries the organization planned to initiate projects; the delegate also requested a full list of the countries where the organization currently worked;
Global Network for Rights and Development (GNRD) (Switzerland) — as Israel’s representative asked if a complaint had been lodged against the organization by the African Union and, if so, why the NGO had not revealed that information in its previous answers;
Human Life International, Inc. (United States) — as the representative of Israel questioned what happened to the organization’s application for 2005 and why it elected to reapply now;
Institut de Drets Humans de Catalunya (Spain) — as the Cuban representative requested more information about the NGO’s activities in Latin American countries. The representative of China requested that the organization use the standard terminology when referencing Tibet. The representative of Morocco questioned whether the NGO carried out activities in Africa, and if so, in which regions;
Institute for Human Rights & Business Limited (United Kingdom) — as the Cuban representative requested more information about the projects it carried out in Latin America and elsewhere;
International Dalit Solidarity Network (Denmark) — as the representative of India requested that a question previously submitted be resubmitted to the organization, as it was not addressed in its first response;
International Federation of Liberal Youth (Belgium) — as the representative of China asked that the organization use the standard United Nations terminology for Taiwan Province of China. The Cuban representative asked for more information on how the NGO remained independent while receiving money from other international organizations in Europe; the speaker also sought more information about the group’s partnerships. The representative of Morocco asked if the NGO had moved its primary headquarters since submitting its application and for clarification regarding its membership;
International Partnership for Human Rights (Belgium) — as the representative of China asked for specific details regarding the organization’s membership. The representative of the Russian Federation asked about the organization’s work in the past year in the Baltic region;
International Prison Chaplains’ Association (Sweden) — as the representative of Nicaragua asked if the organization was currently working in any Latin American countries;
Internationale Vrije Vrouwen Stichting (Netherlands) — as the representative of Turkey requested more information about the organization’s current and future projects;
James Madison University (United States) — as the representative of China requested that the organization clarify its position on Tibet and use the standard terminology when referring to Tibet. Morocco’s representative asked for clarification on portions of the organization’s financial statement;
Jewish Voice Ministries International (United States) — as the representative of Sudan asked for more information regarding the organization’s activities in Africa, the Middle East and India;
John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation (United States) — as the representative of Morocco asked for more information on its position on reproductive rights and more details on its work to promote peace and security;
Muslim Aid (United Kingdom) — as the representative of Israel asked the organization to explain how a quote in a newspaper that supported the death of Salman Rushdie aligned with the principles of the United Nations Charter;
Muslim Hands (United Kingdom) — as the representative of the United States asked the organization to elaborate on how it executes and oversees projects with its partner organizations;
Network for North Korean Democracy and Human Rights (Republic of Korea) — as the Cuban representative asked for a detailed breakdown of the funding it receives from other organizations;
OIPA - Organizzazione Internazionale Protezione Animali (Italy) — as the Chinese representative asked for more information regarding the funding from the Italian Government;
Peace X Peace TR (United States) — as China’s representative expressed concern that the organization had a relationship with persons linked to terrorist groups;
Scandinavian Institute for Human Rights (SIHR) Norway (Norway) — as India’s representative said the organization’s website still was not functional, making it difficult for the Committee to be apprised of its activities;
Segretariato Permanente dei Premi Nobel per la Pace (Italy) — as China’s representative asked about the timing and participants of its planned summit;
Stichting Global Human Rights Defence (Netherlands) — as China’s representative sought details about the organization’s voluntary donations;
The Association for Trauma Outreach and Prevention Inc (United States) — as Turkey’s representative asked for the name of the university with which it collaborated and for more information on its outreach programmes in 2013;
The Equal Rights Trust (United Kingdom) — as China’s representative sought information on its HIV/AIDS-related programmes with partners in China;
The International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons (United Kingdom) — as China’s representative, saying the organization must abide by the United Nations Charter and respect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Member States, asked it to modify or delete its comments on Tibet;
The Simons Foundation (Canada) — as China’s representative asked the organization to use the correct United Nations terminology for Taiwan Province of China on its website;
United Sikhs (United States) — as India’s representative sought a breakdown of its major funders;
Virtual Activism Incorporated (United States) — as China’s representative asked about the organization’s future work plans in China; Sudan’s representative asked about its activities in Arab and African countries; and Nicaragua’s representative asked about its partners in Nicaragua;
Women’s Division of the General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church (United States) — as Sudan’s representative reiterated his 2011 question about the organization’s activities in Africa. The United States’ representative said the organization had already responded to it;
Women’s Information Center (Georgia) — as Cuba’s representative noted that the NGO had two different websites and asked about the difference between them;
World Future Council Foundation (Germany) — as China’s representative asked the organization to use the correct United Nations terminology for Taiwan Province of China on its website;
Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights (YCSRR) (Canada) — as the representative of Morocco asked how the organization planned to work with Governments regarding sexual and reproductive rights issues, as well as which international instruments the organization believed were applicable to their work. He also asked what the organization meant when it uses the term “cultural interpretation of reproductive rights”. The representative of Sudan asked how the organization could set criteria and respect diversity given the vast differences between the cultures within which it operated and asked which private organizations provided funding to the organization. The representative of Belgium stated that his delegation supported the organization’s application;
International Association of Genocide Scholars (United States); and
The Ford Foundation (United States).
A representative of the International Association of Genocide Scholars (United States) said that her organization researched and studied the causes and conditions that led to genocide. The NGO’s 420 members were scholars and students from 40 different countries. The organization believed it could offer an important voice in the United Nations, particularly as the Organization had previously recognized the NGO’s work.
In response to several questions posed previously regarding information about Tibet and Falun Gong, which appeared on the NGO’s website, the speaker said that the NGO was scholarly in nature and that individual members often posted their personal opinions on the NGO’s website. However, she added, such opinions did not necessarily reflect the organization’s position on such issues.
The representative of China said that his delegation was not satisfied with the representative’s answer regarding information posted on the organization’s website about Falun Gong and Tibet. He said that his delegation respected that the NGO was a scholarly organization, but its website featured inappropriate information.
The representative of Sudan said that previous questions that had been submitted to the NGO regarding genocide and Darfur had not been sufficiently answered and he would have liked to hear from the representative directly on those issues. He requested more information on conferences that the organization said it planned to conduct in Africa.
Action on the application was deferred.
A representative of The Ford Foundation (United States) said it had a global reach, with 10 offices overseas in Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro, Santiago de Chile, New Delhi, Jakarta, Beijing, Cairo, Lagos, Nairobi and Johannesburg. Its office in Mexico City operated throughout Central America, awarding grants across the entire region. The Mexico City office focused on migration issues. The organization’s overall goal was to try to minimize the effects of inequality and assist marginalized communities, in cooperation with Governments, civil society and multilateral organizations.
Nicaragua’s representative wanted more information on activities in Central America and its support to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).
In response, the Ford Foundation’s representative said that, as a grant-making foundation, the organization provided monetary aid to the Central American University, among other partners, to conduct research, training and policy dialogue on gender and land issues in indigenous territories. It also supported indigenous people’s sustainable management of natural resources, including forests.
To the question from Cuba’s representative about the organization’s activities in other Latin American countries, he said it worked on migration issues. The office in Santiago focused on the Andean and Southern Cone regions, mostly working in Colombia to empower Afro-descent communities there, particularly through education and livelihood opportunities, as well as in Peru on similar issues and the rights of women. The Rio de Janeiro office focused almost exclusively in Brazil, promoting affirmative action programmes and more livelihood opportunities for the poor and women, particularly of African descent.
Cuba’s representative said she saw nothing wrong with that response, but she asked for it in writing.