9 May 2005


Press Release

Committee on NGOS

20th & 21st Meetings* (AM & PM)



Defers Nine Applications, Closes One, Defers Three Requests for Reclassification

The Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations today considered three complaints submitted by Member States.  It further recommended 13 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) for consultative status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), deferred nine applications, closed the application of one NGO, and deferred three requests for reclassification.

The representative of China filed a complaint regarding an incident during the sixty-first session of the Commission on Human Rights held in Geneva, on 5 April, whereby a representative of A Woman’s Voice International had produced and activated a tasar gun while delivering a speech.  He said the NGO had not only violated the rules and regulations of the Organization, but also the rules of the host country, and proposed that the Committee impose a one-year suspension of the NGO’s consultative status.

In the ensuing debate, during which the representatives of the Sudan, Pakistan, Iran, and Cuba supported the proposal, the representative of the United States, supported by the representative of France, said that, first, all the facts should be known and that the NGO concerned should be asked for a special report.  It was not clear whether the device had been smuggled into the conference room or whether the NGO representative had had permission from the security guard at the door.  The incident was of extreme concern, he said, as the safety of delegates was involved.

The representative of China had no objection to a special report, but insisted that a special report be submitted before the end of the resumed session and that the Committee then take appropriate action.

Turkey’s representative complained that the Federation of Associations for the Defence and Promotion of Human Rights had made a statement during the sixty-first session of the Commission on Human Rights, in which it referred to a certain part of the territory of Turkey as “Northern Kurdistan” (see document E/CN.4/2005/NGO/294).  Under the rules and procedures governing the behaviour of NGOs, as stated in ECOSOC resolution 1996/31, NGOs should adhere to United Nations terminology regarding territories and countries.  In order to prevent repetition of such incidents, he requested that the NGO be reminded of that obligation.

The Committee was informed that the NGOs would be informed of the complaints and that the matter would be revisited during the resumed session.

Regarding a complaint from Iran concerning a written statement of the Transnational Radical Party (document E/CN.4/2005/NGO/260) on the indigenous Ahwazi Arab tribes in Iran, the Committee postponed consideration as the Secretariat of the Committee, the NGO Section and the secretariat of the Commission on Human Rights were in consultation with the Legal Office about the Transnational Radical Party’s stated intention to withdraw its written statement.

The 19-member Committee uses various criteria to recommend general, special or roster status with ECOSOC, including the applicant’s mandate, governance and financial regime.  Organizations that have general and special consultative status can attend meetings of the Council and circulate statements of a certain length.  Those with general status can, in addition, speak at meetings and propose items for the Council’s agenda, while NGOs with roster status can only attend meetings.

Non-governmental organizations with general and special consultative status must submit a report to ECOSOC every four years.  The Committee can request a special report in certain instances, such as after receipt of a complaint from a MemberState about the behaviour of an NGO during a meeting of a United Nations body to which it was accredited.

The Committee recommended special consultative status for:

-- Adelphi Research, an international, independent and non-profit institute based in Germany, which develops and implements innovative sustainable development strategies;

-- Frontier Reconstruction Welfare Agency, a national organization from Pakistan that focuses on poverty alleviation, environmental protection, drug abuse prevention, human resource development, women’s empowerment and basic health, education and population;

-- Agrenska Foundation, a national organization, based in Sweden, that provides programmes for children and young people with rare disorders, their families and professionals concerned;

-- Centre d’Études Diplomatiques et Stratégiques (CEDS), an international organization headquartered in France that, as a higher education institution, enables career diplomats, consular officials, international civil servants and members of civil society to deepen and update their knowledge of international relations;

-- Citizens for Decent Housing, a national organization from the Republic of Korea, focusing on solving major housing problems in the country over the next 10 years;

-- Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society, an international organization based in the Russian Federation, which is involved in public, scientific, cultural, educational, tourist and publishing activities connected with the social, historical, philological, cultural, economic, medical and religious studies in the Middle East and Mediterranean region;

-- Child Foundation, a national, Iran-based organization that creates an environment conducive to learning and growth for the nutritional, medical and environmental well-being of all children, although the NGO was asked to clarify membership policies;

-- Federation of Arab Journalists, a regional organization headquartered in Egypt, which advocates for and promotes freedom of opinion, expression and the press, and defends the rights and freedoms of the Arab press and Arab journalists, although the NGO was asked to send further clarifications regarding its finances; and

-- Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, an international, India-based organization, mandated to bring about the practical realization of human rights in Commonwealth countries.

The Committee confirmed two decisions it had taken ad referendum last week, as relevant documents had been published, recommending special consultative status for:  National Council on Family Relations, an international organization headquartered in the United States, that provides an educational forum for family researchers, educators and practitioners; and Yemeni Women Union, a national organization advocating sound gender-sensitive legislation and policies development for women. 

It also confirmed the ad referendum decision recommending roster status for Literacy Tech Foundation, an international organization with headquarters in the United States, which aims to provide tools and assistance to encourage, develop and improve the standard of literacy and technical knowledge in school-age children of poor and economically depressed areas worldwide.

Pending issuance of relevant documents, the Committee recommended ad referendum special consultative status for Mata Amritanandamayi Math, a national organization from India, which is, according to its website, dedicated to serving humanity without distinction of caste, race or religion and to disseminate the message of spirituality, universal love and selfless service to humanity.

The file on the application of Le Foyer Musulman -- Association internationale pour les droits de l’homme was closed, as repeated attempts since January 2003 to reach the NGO had failed.

The Committee deferred applications pending from:

-- Internews International, a France-based international organization that supports the existence and development of independent media and promotes approaches conducive to a better understanding of the world and respect for other cultures, as the representative of Iran had questions regarding the NGO’s finances;

-- Union de Asociaciones Familiares, a national organization in Spain, advocating for the recognition of families and mediating before all institutions whose policies directly affect the well-being of the family, as questions were raised regarding the NGO’s membership, finances and activities;

-- African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies, an international, Gambia-based organization with the main objective of promoting, protecting and observing all human and peoples’ rights and democratic principles throughout Africa, as more time was needed to study answers provided;

-- Human Rights Alliance, an international organization based in the United Kingdom aiming at identifying areas for the betterment of the community both in terms of civil and political rights and economic, social and cultural rights, because it had not replied to questions posed in 2003.  Pakistan’s representative demanded that the application would be rejected if the NGO did not answer before the end of the resumed session;

-- Kashmiri American Council, a national organization based in the United States, which aims for international education and promotion of the principles of human rights and human dignity for all, irrespective of their racial, religious, linguistic or sexual preferences, as more time was needed to study replies sent;

-- Mountain Women Development Organization, a national organization based in Pakistan that is working to eradicate gender discrimination against women in the northern areas of Pakistan, as more time was needed to study the revised application;

-- International Centre for Peace Studies, an international organization, based in India, that studies conflict situations and develops strategies for peace-building with an emphasis on human rights, as Pakistan wanted to pose questions regarding a statement made by the NGO that South Asian countries were exporting fundamentalism.  The representative of India said that international organizations also had freedom of speech;

-- American Conservative Union, a national organization based in the United States, with the purpose of advancing the goals and principles of conservatism, as no replies had been received to questions posed; and

-- Fazaldad Human Rights Institute, a national organization based in Pakistan, which wants to eliminate human rights abuse and to promote education on the field of human rights, as India intended to ask more questions in writing after the organization’s representative had addressed some questions during the meeting.

The Committee also deferred requests for reclassification from:

-- International Association of Women Judges (International Women Judges Foundation), an international organization based in the United States, which had been granted special status in 1999.  As it had since then widened its activities considerably, it requested general consultative status.  The representative of China, noting that the NGO referred to Taiwan as a separate entity, requested that that the organization adhere to standard United Nations language in that regard and wanted to know the NGO’s stance on the matter.  Sudan’s representative asked about the NGO’s activities in Africa;

-- International Research Centre for Environmental Structures “Pio Manzu”, an international organization based in Italy that had enjoyed roster status since 1972.  It was now requesting general status, as it was promoting the goals of the United Nations, including the Millennium Development Goals.  Cuba’s representative asked for more information on its activities in less developed countries and to specify its vision of “challenges and threats” in its various fields of activities; and

-- International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences, an international organization based in the Netherlands with roster status since 1974.  It requested special consultative status, as its work had been growing since 1974, and it wanted to have a closer relationship with the United Nations.  The representative of Cuba asked clarification on the term “anthropology of AIDS”.

The Committee members are:  Cameroon, Chile, China, Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, France, Germany, India, Iran, Peru, Pakistan, Romania, Russian Federation, Senegal, Sudan, Turkey, United States, and Zimbabwe.

The Committee will meet again tomorrow, Tuesday, 10 May, at 10 a.m. to continue consideration of deferred applications and requests for reclassification.

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*     Press Release NGO/561 of 6 May 2005 was only for the 19th Meeting.

For information media. Not an official record.