Concluding First Week of 2015 Session, Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations Recommends Status for 11 Entities, Defers Action on 59 Others

ECOSOC/6662-NGO/801
30 January 2015
Committee on NGOs, 6th & 7th Meetings (AM & PM)

Concluding First Week of 2015 Session, Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations Recommends Status for 11 Entities, Defers Action on 59 Others

Wrapping up the first week of its 2015 regular session, the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations today recommended 11 organizations for special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council, and deferred action on 59 others.

The 19-member Committee vets applications submitted by non-governmental organizations, 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 were 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 relationship with United Nations system actors.

The Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations will meet again at 10 a.m. Monday, 2 February, to continue its session.

Special Consultative Status

The Committee recommended that the Council grant special consultative status to the following 11 organizations:

National Shooting Sports Foundation, Inc. (United States);

The Equal Rights Trust (United Kingdom);

The Institute of Development Studies (United Kingdom);

The International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons (United Kingdom);

The Tronie Foundation (United States);

Trennungsväter e.V. (Germany);

African Rights Initiative International (Ghana);

Center for Religion and Diplomacy, Inc. (United States);

The World Association for al-Azhar Graduates (WAAG) (Egypt);

Freedom from Hunger (United States); and

International Development Information Organization – DevNet (China).

The Committee postponed consideration of the following 59 organizations:

Medsin-UK (United Kingdom) — as the representative of China, referring to the organization’s low administrative expenses, asked for more information about the relatively large organization’s costs.

Mother Helpage (UK) (United Kingdom) — as the representatives of India and Sudan requested more information about the organization’s work in, and relationships with other groups in, their respective countries.

Muslim Aid (United Kingdom) — as the representative of the United States asked for more recent financial information, and whether any of the group’s donations were from Government entities.

Muslim Hands (United Kingdom) — as the representative of the United States asked if the organization was a stand-alone entity or an umbrella group.

National Center for Civil and Human Rights, Inc. (United States) — as China’s delegate asked the organization to clarify its position regarding the Tibetan region.  The representative of Sudan also raised questions about the organization’s Government funding, and asked why all of the group’s expenses were administrative in nature.

Peace and Hope International (United States) — as the representative of Nicaragua asked about the group’s work with partners in Central and Latin America.

Profesionales por la Ética (Spain) — as the representative of Israel asked for updated financial information, as well as for more clarity on a particular contribution.

Rural Development Institute (United States) — as the representative of India raised questions about the organization’s five offices in India and its work with the Indian Government.

Sikh Human Rights Group (United Kingdom) — as the representative of India asked about the group’s accreditation with the World Conference Against Racism.

Stichting Samenwerkingsverband IKV - Pax Christi (Netherlands) — as the representative of Sudan asked about the nature of the organization’s work in conflict areas such as the Middle East and parts of Africa, its offices and partners in those regions and its financing.

Stichting Soham Baba Mission (Netherlands) — as Venezuela’s representative asked for more details on the organization’s projects in Latin America.

Survivor’s Network of those Abused by Priests (United States) — as the representative of the Russian Federation asked whether or not the organization relied on existing court decisions regarding abuse of children by priests.

The Lawfare Project, Inc. (United States) — as Iran’s representative asked about a gap between the organization’s total stated income and its total expenditures, as well as contributions to the group’s budget.

The Leadership Foundation (United States) — as the representative of Venezuela asked for more detailed information about the group’s activities in Latin America.

Tripura Foundation, Inc. (United States) — as the representative of India asked for more information on the group’s work with indigenous populations.  Sudan’s representative noted that, while there had been a technical error in the organization’s application, he had no objections to it.

Women Living under Muslim Laws - International Solidarity Network (WLUML) (United Kingdom) — as the representative of Iran asked about the organization’s work with Muslim women living in the United Kingdom, in particular with regard to their involvement in extremist groups, and for more details about the organization’s partners.

The representative of Sudan asked about the organization’s governmental support.  In addition, the representative of China said that references to “Taiwan” had not been properly corrected on the organization’s website, while the representative of Pakistan raised questions about the group’s advocacy costs.

Women’s Freedom Forum, Inc. (United States) — as the representative of Iran asked whether the organization received any support from Governments, and from which other groups it received funding.  Cuba’s representative asked about the organization’s involvement in past United Nations meetings, and whether it had taken part in any universal periodic review processes.

Zaka Rescue and Recovery (Israel) — as the representative of Venezuela asked whether membership in the organization was individual in nature, or whether groups could also be members, and raised a question about the organization’s stated collaboration with Palestine.

Iran’s delegate asked about the group’s plans to merge with another organization also requesting consultative status.  The organization’s location in occupied East Jerusalem was contrary to United Nations resolutions, she stressed, noting that the request for consultative status with the Council should, therefore, be rejected.

Afrikaanse Forum vir Burgerregte (South Africa) — as the delegate of South Africa raised a question about the organization’s work with other groups, both national and international, and asked which conferences it planned to attend.

Al-Dameer Association for Supporting Prisoners and Human Rights (State of Palestine) — as the representative of Israel raised a question about the organization’s accounting system, asking for updated financial statements.  He also asked about the election of the group’s board members.

Al-Marsad, The Arab Centre for Human Rights in the Golan Heights (R.A.) (occupied Syrian Golan) — as the representative of Israel asked about income received by the organization from certain groups and third parties.

All-Ukrainian Association of Civil Organizations “Union of Armenians of Ukraine” (Ukraine) — as Azerbaijan’s delegate asked the organization to explain its future plans regarding minorities, including those other than Armenians, and how it would contribute to the work of the Council in that respect.  He also asked about the group’s voluntary contributions.

Ambedkar Center for Justice and Peace (India) — as the representative of India asked what was meant by the group’s self-description as an “indigenous peoples’ human rights organization”, and requested updated financial information.

Business and Professional Women Voluntary Organization – Sudan (Sudan) — as Sudan’s delegate asked for more information about the organization’s workshops and training for women, and its creation of for-profit centres for women.  He also asked about the group’s activities in western Darfur.

Noting that the organization had made a “blatant accusation” against the Committee — namely, that it was using delaying measures to avoid granting consultative status to certain organizations — he stressed that Members of the Committee had the right to pose any questions they saw fit to ask.

Dalit Foundation – Ahmedabad (India) — as the representative of India asked about one of the organization’s members, which was a member of the Government’s planning commission, and asked the group to clarify its spending on projects.

India Media Centre (India) — as the representative of China asked that the organization correct references to “Taiwan” and asked it to clarify its position on Tibet.

The International Association of Genocide Scholars, Inc. (Argentina) — as the representative of China asked for more recent information on the group’s activities.

International Human Rights Commission Relief Fund Trust (Pakistan) — as India’s delegate asked for clarification about the organization’s association with the International Human Rights Commission.

Islamic African Relief Agency (IARA) (Sudan) — as the delegate of the United States asked about funding provided by the organization and its American partner, the Islamic American Relief Agency, to other countries.  The representative of Sudan then noted that the organization had been asked that same question in the past, and that it had submitted a detailed response.

The Chair asked the representative of the United States to clarify her question.

In response, the delegate of the United States asked whether the organization had also conducted activities alongside the Islamic American Relief Agency, and asked for more information about the group’s fundraising efforts, and transfer of funds to countries it was previously associated with.  That question was different from those previously posed to the organization, she stressed.

National Women’s Welfare Society Darwha, Distt. Yavatmal (India) — as India’s delegate raised financial questions about the organization.

New Era Educational and Charitable Support Initiative (Nigeria) — as the representative of China sought clarification regarding the way the organization’s director was selected, as well as the relationship between its executive board and its management council.

New World Hope Organization (NWHO) (Pakistan) — as the representative of India asked about the organization’s work in Afghanistan and other countries, and for more information about the funds used for its projects.

Nigerian Diaspora Youths Movement for Peace and Development International Organization (Cameroon) — as China’s delegate asked for more information about the organization’s members in China and Hong Kong.

The Committee Chair asked the representative of China to clarify that question.  In response, the representative of China asked the organization to list the activities it had carried out in China and their outcomes.

The representative of Cuba then asked whether the organization had a website.

RESDAL Red de Seguridad y Defensa de América Latina Asociación Civil (Argentina) — as the representative of Cuba asked for an updated list of its activities with State institutions and the results of those activities.

Shah Maqeem Trust (Pakistan) — as Pakistan’s delegate asked about the administrative cost listed on the organization’s application, which was listed as zero, and noted that there were discrepancies in the organization’s stated income.  He also requested more information on its projects and their funding, including from community sources.

Swadhikar (India) — as the representative of India asked about the authenticity of the organization’s registration, about its website, and for more information on its campaign on Dalit human rights.

The Akshaya Patra Foundation (India) — as the representative of India asked whether it was linked to a similarly named organization in the United States.  The representative of Pakistan raised concerns about the organization’s stated lack of independence from the Government of India.  He also asked for details of how Government funds had been utilized and for more clarity on the group’s budgetary deficit.

The Bahrain Young Ladies Association (Bahrain) — as the representative of Sudan raised a question about the organization’s support from, and simultaneous support to, “some centres and bodies”, which he found confusing.  He also asked a number of other questions related to the group’s financing.

India’s delegate asked for more specific details about its activities, including plans to provide small loans to families.  The representative of Pakistan also asked for clarity regarding the financial statement provided by the organization.

The F.W. de Klerk Foundation Trust (South Africa) — as the representative of South Africa wished to know more about the organization’s work with the United Nations, and whether its finances would support such work.

The Kuki Organization For Human Rights Trust (India) — as the representative of India asked about the group’s relationship with other organizations, and asked whether the Kuki Organization For Human Rights Trust’s website was functional.

Treatment & Rehabilitation Center for Victims of Torture (State of Palestine) — as the representative of Israel questioned a financial deficit listed on the organization’s application.

West Africa Centre for Peace Foundation (Ghana) — as China’s delegate questioned references to Tibet which were listed on the organization’s website, and hoped that it would be corrected.

Access Now (United States) — as the representative of China asked for updates on the organization’s relationship with Governments and other issues.  The delegate of Venezuela asked for more information about the group’s “regional approach” in Latin America, despite not having any specific projects under way there.

Asia Center for Human Rights (ACHR) (Republic of Korea) — as the representative of China asked whether the organization had expanded its membership to other countries in South-East Asia.

Assyrian Aid Society of America Inc. (United States) — as the delegate of Turkey asked what organizations were recipients of aid from the Society.

Assyrian National Congress (United States) — as the representative of Nicaragua asked for more detailed financial information.

Avocats Sans Frontières (Belgium) — as the representative of Nicaragua asked for a more recent financial report from the organization.

Bureau international pour le respect des droits de l’homme au Sahara Occidental (Switzerland) — as the representative of Burundi asked the organization to provide the physical address of its headquarters, and asked for more recent financial documents.

Center for Constitutional Rights Inc. (United States) — as the representative of Israel asked about the organization’s deficit of $300,000, and requested more recent financial information to better judge the organization’s stability.

Centre catholique international de Genève (CCIG) (Switzerland) — as the representative of China asked the group to provide a new and functional website for the Committee’s review.

Centre Zagros pour les Droits de l’Homme (Switzerland) — as the representative of Iran raised questions about “cultural activities” listed on the organization’s application, asking for specific examples of such activities.

Child Rights Information Network – CRIN (United Kingdom) — as Nicaragua’s delegate called the organization’s application “out of date”, and asked that more recent information be submitted.  The delegate of Pakistan asked for more information about how funding from Governments was used.

The representative of China noted that some of those questions had been posed to the organization repeatedly, as the mistakes had never been corrected.  She also requested the organization to explain contradictions in its position on Tibet.  The representative of India requested further information as the organization’s website was not functioning properly.

Christian Solidarity Worldwide (United Kingdom) — as the representative of Venezuela asked about the organization’s “monitoring” projects in Peru.  Sudan’s representative asked for specific information on activities in particular countries.  While the group had stated that it had no activities in Sudan or South Sudan, its website had differing information.  The representative of Cuba asked about a project in Colombia, asking whether resulting data had been used in any peace negotiations.

Collectif des Familles de Disparu(e)s en Algerie (France) — as Venezuela’s representative asked which Governments sponsored the organization, and for a detailed financial breakdown.  The representative of Sudan noted that the organization had been asked in the past whether it had a relationship with a particular group, and had answered that it did not.  However, research had shown that there were joint statements issued by the two groups.  He asked that the organization explain this discrepancy.  Finally, he requested more information about some of the organization’s funders.

Committee to Protect Journalists, Inc. (United States) — as the representative of Nicaragua asked for more information on the organization’s relationship with the Universal Periodic Review process and with other organizations.  The delegate of Sudan also requested further information on whether the organization had any activities in northern or eastern Africa, and if so, in which countries.

Congrès National des Arméniens Occidentaux (CNAO) (France) — as the representative of Azerbaijan asked the organization to elaborate on its mission statement, in particular with regard to western Armenians.

The observer delegate of Armenia then took the floor.  He regretted to note that impartiality and objectivity were not always observed by Committee members.  Questions had been raised by two States well known for their involvement in issues relating to Armenians.  He asked the Committee to remain impartial and continue to adhere to its spirit of good faith.

Droits de l’Homme sans Frontières - Human Rights without Frontiers (Belgium) — as the representative of the Russian Federation queried the group’s relationship with Japanese and German partner organizations, and asked it to specify those organizations.  The representative of Cuba then asked for a breakdown of membership by country.

Earth Charter Associates Ltd. (United States) — as the representative of China, noting that the organization had some projects with organizations in Taiwan, asked for more information on those activities.

ECCO2 Corp (United States) — as the delegate of the United States drew attention to the organization’s corporate bylaws and raised a question about its membership fees.  He also asked for more information about the sources of funding from the private sector and income generated through contracts.

Interactive Dialogue

Prior to this afternoon’s interactive question-and-answer session with representatives of non-governmental organizations, the representative of Sudan made a proposal that organizations from which had already been requested information in writing not be considered during the dialogue.  The delegate of China agreed with the request.

However, other delegates, including that of the United States, felt that organizations — some of which had come long distances to attend the Committee meeting — should be permitted to be heard, even if written responses had been requested from them.

The Chair then decided that all listed organizations would be able to take the floor during the dialogue session.

Beginning the session, a representative of the International Development Information Organization – DevNet explained that his organization’s purpose was to ensure communication and cooperation between developed and developing countries.  Among other things, it also hoped to raise awareness of the need for economic integration.  In 2013, the organization had established a branch in Mexico, and now engaged in cooperation between China and Mexico.  It also worked in the Republic of Korea and other countries, and aimed to achieve green development.

During the ensuing dialogue, representatives of Cuba, India and Iran posed questions of the International Development Information Organization – DevNet, including those related to its administrative costs, its work in Latin America and its relationship with Governments, which some delegations feared threatened its independence.

To that, the organization’s representative said that his group was just a platform for the actions of its members.  The group itself was not involved in Government projects.  Indeed, it helped its members connect with Governments, but it did not take an active part in those activities.

Following that exchange, the Committee decided to grant special consultative status to the International Development Information Organization — DevNet.

Several delegations — including that of China, which asked for evidence of the group’s registration in Shanghai — expressed concern that questions still remained after the gavel had fallen.

Right of Reply

Exercising his right of reply, the representative of Azerbaijan said that the rules of the Committee stated that any member could ask any question he or she saw fit, for any reason.

The representative of Turkey said that his delegation strongly supported the involvement of non-governmental organizations in the work of the United Nations.  The only criterion it took into account when assessing those groups was whether they supported the work of the Council under resolution 1996/31.

The observer state of Armenia then called on delegations concerned to take positive action in upcoming sessions.

For information media. Not an official record.