In the fifth day of its 2018 regular session, the Committee on Non‑Governmental Organizations today recommended 6 entities for special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council, deferred action on the status of 47 and voted against status for 1 other.
The 19‑member Committee considers applications for consultative status and requests for reclassification submitted by non‑governmental organizations. Once an application has been reviewed and approved by the Committee it is considered recommended for consultative status. Organizations that are granted 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 requested further information from the candidates about, among other items, details of their respective organizations’ activities, partners, expenditures, sources of funding and locations where projects were carried out.
Following a request from the United States delegation, the Committee voted on an application from the US Committee for Human Rights in North Korea. By a vote of 9 against granting status to 5 in favour, with 2 abstentions, the organization’s request for status was denied. Following that vote, the representative of the United States said her delegation would request that the Council reverse the Committee’s recommendation and grant the organization consultative status, while the representative of the Russian Federation stressed that even if Member States did not like the decisions taken by the body, they must be respected.
The Committee on Non‑Governmental Organizations will meet again at 10 a.m. on Monday, 5 February, to continue its session.
Special Consultative Status
The Committee recommended that the Economic and Social Council grant special consultative status to the following 6 organizations:
Fondation Cordoue de Genève (Switzerland);
International Women's Peace Group Corporation (Republic of Korea);
Jubilee USA Network, Inc. (United States);
Keeping Children Safe (United Kingdom);
Soulforce, Inc. (United States); and
Universal Rights Group (Switzerland).
The Committee postponed consideration of the following 47 organizations:
Electronic Frontier Foundation, Inc. (United States) — as the representative of China requested further information about the organization’s work related to cybersecurity.
GAHT-US Corporation (United States) — as the representative of China requested the group amend its website so that it conformed with the standard United Nations terminology.
Global Network of Sex Work Projects Limited (United Kingdom) — as the representative of Nicaragua requested further information about the group’s work and partnerships in Nicaragua.
Insamlingsstiftelsen Kvinna till Kvinna (Sweden) — as the representative of the Russian Federation requested further details about the organization’s relationship with Armenian opposition structures.
International Association of Genocide Scholars, Inc. (United States) — as the representative of Turkey requested further details about the nationalities of the Association’s members.
International Child Rights Center (Republic of Korea) — as the representative of Venezuela requested detailed information on the Center’s partnerships with international organizations and the origin of their funds.
Jerusalem Institute of Justice (Israel) – as the representative of Iran requested clarification about conflicting information published by the entity regarding the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), and the representative of South Africa requested a list of the organizations and universities the group cooperated with.
Jeunesse Etudiante Tamoule (France) — as the representative of Turkey requested that the entity provide additional information about its relations with the national parliaments cited in its application form.
Korea Human Rights Foundation (Republic of Korea) — as the representative of the Russian Federation requested further information on a project related to democracy‑building in Asia, including which countries the project targeted and how the project was being funded.
Mangfoldhuset (Norway) — as the representative of Azerbaijan requested a list of non-governmental organizations and private institutions that provided funding to the group.
NDLH International Network of International Diplomacy, International Law and Human Rights (Norway) — as the representative of China requested further information about the structure of the organization and the work done in its various offices.
NK Watch (Republic of Korea) — as the representative of Iran referred to a previous request, which asked for project titles and a donor list. The entity only provided a list of 2014 projects. He asked if there were any projects in 2015 and 2016.
Norsk organisasjon for reform av marihuanalovgivningen (Norway) — as the delegate of Cuba said the organization mentioned it had contacts with different offices of the United Nations, he wanted to know how the group thought it could contribute to the work of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
Parents and Friends of Ex‑Gays and Gays, Inc. (United States) — as the representative of Israel said the group had stated that same‑sex attractions developed differently in men than they did in women, and she wanted an explanation. The representative of the Russian Federation said that it was not an organization for those in favour of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons, but actually propagated different values, and people with those values also had their human rights.
Peace Brigades International (United Kingdom) — as the representative of China noted the group had stated that it used its international presence to support the work of human rights defenders by peaceful social change, he wanted to know what it meant by “peaceful social change”.
Peace Islands Institute, Inc. (United States) — as the representative of Azerbaijan asked for the group to provide a list of private sector entities from which it had received funding.
Presbyterian Women in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Inc. (United States) — as the representative of China noted the group was created by the merger of two organizations in 1988, and he wanted further information on them.
Reprieve (United Kingdom) — as the representative of Mauritania wanted to know the names of the international organizations and non-governmental organizations funding it. The representative of Cuba said he would like a list of the 23 countries it worked with, as the question had been asked several times before and had not been answered satisfactorily.
Right Livelihood Award Foundation (Sweden) — as the representative of China said that the entity’s website contained an article that noted the “Chinese invasion of Tibet”, and asked what it meant by that, as Tibet was an autonomous region of China.
Salam for Democracy and Human Rights (United Kingdom) — as the representative of China wanted to know what areas the organization’s projects focused on, as well as details regarding the funding of those projects.
Sex & Samfund (Denmark) — as the representative of Pakistan wanted to know which countries the organization was working in in South Asia regarding lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights and youth empowerment, what the projects were and who its local partners were.
Solidarity for Peace and Reunification of Korea (Republic of Korea) — as the representative of Burundi asked the entity to provide a list of its planned activities for 2018.
Stichting CHOICE for Youth and Sexuality (Netherlands) — as the representative of Nicaragua asked for information about its projects after 2015. The representative of the Russian Federation asked which partner organizations it worked with in Indonesia. The representative of Sudan said the organization had stated it had no members, and he found it hard to understand that answer.
Stichting Pro Papua (Netherlands) — as the representative of India wanted to know if it had a grassroots presence in Papua and West Papua, and if so, how that was funded. The representative of Iran said he would like to receive a list of international entities that the group had good relationships with. The representative of Uruguay asked the representative of India to clarify the difference between its current question and one it asked in 2017. The representative of India said she wanted to know if the organization had a grassroots presence specifically in Papua and West Papua, and if so how was that presence funded.
Syrian American Medical Society Foundation (United States) — as the representative of Iran asked whether there had been any change in the interaction of the organization with the Government of the country in which it was active, and also whether it had any office in the Middle East or the neighbouring countries of Syria. The representative of the United States said that the entity was registered in the United States and encouraged the Committee to support its accreditation. The representative of the Russian Federation said that he had good reason to suppose that the activities of the group were very biased. He said that the United States representative should not use the cover of children and people who were suffering, as if it were it not for the activities of the United States there would be no suffering. The representative of the United States asked the Russian Federation to keep their accusations to the Security Council. The representative of the Russian Federation said that the entity was working in Syria without the permission of that country. The representative of the observer State of Syria said that the organization was not registered in Syria. It was part of the military terrorist wing that was supporting terrorism in Syria. The representative of the United States said that she did not know where to begin with the absurd statements of the Syrian delegation. She asked delegations for restraint and to not make unfounded allegations regarding organizations, including organizations legally registered in the United States. The representative of the Russian Federation said that on the initiative of the delegation of the United States during the course of the current session, a number of requests had been postponed to the next session, including one for a Russian Federation research group. He asked the United States representative what she would think if a non-governmental organization worked in the United States without the permission of the authorities. The representative of the United States said that her country was an open society and did not require its central Government to register every non-governmental organization. The United States was in a different situation than the Syrian Government’s. That Government was unable, unwilling, or intentionally withholding medical care from certain parts of its population. Groups had stepped in to meet those needs. The representative of Iran said that he was disappointed by the out‑of‑context statements he heard. The work was routine, and Member States should be able to ask questions and if there was nothing to hide, then the entity would respond. The representative of Syria said that his delegation rejected all accusations made by the representative of the United States. He advised her to review the resolutions that had been adopted by the Security Council on the humanitarian situation in Syria, and referred to the cooperation of the Government of Syria with the United Nations to support those in need in Syria.
The Simons Foundation (Canada) — the representative of the Russian Federation said that he did not wish to talk about the organization but instead wished to draw attention to the fact that, two days ago, the delegate of Cuba said that the rules of procedure should be adhered to, and it was now time for a break at 1 p.m. He said that there were two minutes left and that work should continue at 3 p.m. The representative of Turkey asked if the Foundation had any relationship with other Governments other than its own country’s.
White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood, Inc. (United States) — as the representative of Nicaragua requested a list of the group’s international partners, including those that provided funding to the group.
Women Living under Muslim Laws — International Solidarity Network (United Kingdom) — as the representative of Pakistan requested more information about the organization’s projects in Pakistan, including the financial statements associated with those projects, and the representative of Sudan noted that the organization had yet to provide its audit reports from 2016, as previously requested.
Women's Freedom Forum, Inc. (United States) — as the representative of Iran said that the organization’s financial reports for 2015 and 2016 did not mention the resources it used for the reports it produced.
WomenNC—NC Committee for CSW/CEDAW (United States) — as the representative of Mauritania wanted further details on what the entity meant by its objective of ending inequality against women and girls. He also asked how it covered its administrative expenses.
World Association for Sexual Health (United Kingdom) — as the representative of Nicaragua said that a request had been made in May 2017 to provide a list of the group’s projects in 2016 and in later years. The Association’s response was about the progress of its work, but she was still interested to have a list of countries it worked in and details of its projects.
World Without Genocide (United States) — as the representative of Sudan said that the organization’s website noted that the group collected donations to fund fellowship programmes, academic programmes and scholarships, and he requested that the group provide further details on those, along with the number of students and the countries to which they belonged. The representative of Burundi said he wanted to know further details about the relationship between the entity and the International Criminal Court.
Youth RISE (Resource, Information, Support, Education) Ltd. (United Kingdom) — as the representative of Nicaragua wanted to know more about the project the group had in Mexico, as well as whether the entity had contacted other countries in Latin America, as it had said it was hoping to expand in that region.
"SEG" Civil Society Support Center NGO (Armenia) — as the representative of Azerbaijan requested information about the group’s planned activities for 2018 and 2019.
AMPHTS (Syria) — as the representative of the United States said the group had mentioned having offices in 13 countries around the world, and she wished to learn whether they were physical offices, which countries they were in, and whether it was intending to open others.
Akhil Bharatiya Human Rights Organisation (India) — as the representative of Pakistan requested the group provide details on the research papers it had published or was planning to issue.
Ambedkar Center for Justice and Peace (India) — as the representative of India said she checked the website of the organization, and saw details of activities up to 2012, but not later. She would like to know if the website had changed or whether they were maintaining another website.
Associación Red de Mujeres Afrolatinoamericanas, Afrocaribeñas y de la Diáspora (Nicaragua) — as the representative of Nicaragua said she saw that the entity had held a 2015 summit in her country and she would like more information on the result of that meeting, and the representative of Cuba wanted to know more about the projects the group had created in his country, if any.
Cameroon League for Development (Cameroon) — as the representative of South Africa wanted to know more about what the group referred to as its proposed strategies on how to help reduce pregnancies among school—aged children. The representative of Mauritania said he was surprised at the expenses of the organization. He noted that there was an increase in taxes which represented 67 per cent of the funds of the group, and questioned why there was such a rise.
Diplomatic Mission Peace and Prosperity (Albania) — as the representative of Greece said that the group had in 2017 stated that it attached great importance to the training of teachers, and she would like more information on relevant projects.
Establishment of Sheikh Thani bin Abdullah Al Thani for Humanitarian Services (Qatar) — as the representative of the United States said that the organization in 2017 had listed several projects that it had been completed and requested more details on each project, including the activities, their results and funding.
Family Policy Institute (South Africa) — as the representative of South Africa said that the Committee had noted the work of the organization mirrored another group called the Family Policy Institute of Washington. She asked if they were affiliated with that group, and, if so, had it also applied for consultative status.
Imam Khomeini Relief Foundation (Iran) — as the representative of the United States asked for more details of the investments that accounted for some of its funding, and what percentage of its budget they accounted for. The representative of India asked where the representative of the United States saw reference to the funding that noted that some of it came from investments. The representative of the Russian Federation said that he was told that during the vote the broadcast was cut off and he would like to know why and who was responsible. The representative of the Secretariat said he would look into it again, but he was told that the webcast had been without interruption including the voting procedure. The representative of the Russian Federation requested that the information be verified. The representative of the United States said that she wished to respond to the concern of the Russian Federation, as her delegation also noticed that a portion of the webcast was not working. In response to where in the organization’s application it mentioned investments, it was in the correspondence of 6 February 2017.
International Non—Olympic Committee (India) — as the representative of India requested that the group provide full details of the research it was undertaking and planning to fund, as well as details on funding and the names of scholars. She also asked if there were any non—Olympic sports that were the priority of the entity. The representative of Israel said that regarding the names of researchers, names of members could not be asked for. The representative of India clarified that she did not ask for the names but for the details, for example the number of researchers and whether they were part— or full—time.
Union of Non-Governmental Associations “The International Non-Governmental Organization” “The World Union of Cossack Atamans” — pending further information.
Ambedkar Center for Justice and Peace — pending further information.
International Centre for Supporting Rights and Freedoms — pending further information.
The Committee voted against granting status to the following organization:
US Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (United States) — the representative of the United States said that the application had been pending for several years, and during that time, the organization had repeatedly been asked similar questions. She proposed that the Committee immediately grant consultative status to the group. The representative of Iran rejected the United States’ motion and said that it was unconstructive and undermined the work of the Committee, while the representative of the Russian Federation emphasized that the United States must stop putting pressure on the Secretariat.
The representative of the United States then requested that the Committee conduct a vote on the motion to grant consultative status to the organization. The representative of the Democratic Republic of Korea took the floor, and said that the group did not qualify as a non-governmental organization, but rather was a Government-affiliate that was funded and controlled by the United States Government. The representative of the European Union underlined the need for fair and reasonable treatment of all applicants, and stressed that properly scrutinized organizations should receive accreditation in a timely fashion.
Speaking before the vote, the representative of China said that although the organization had answered the questions previously posed to it, the Committee still had additional questions which it wished to have answered. The representative of the Russian Federation noted that there were other organizations whose applications had been before the Committee for much longer than the application of the group currently under consideration. The representative of Uruguay said that it was not right to reject the Committee’s application, as it had met all requirements.
By a vote of 9 against to 5 in favour, with 2 abstentions, the Committee then failed to grant consultative status to the organization.
Speaking after the vote, the representatives of Nicaragua and Pakistan said that all questions posed to any organization whose application was presented to the Committee must be answered, while the representative of the Russian Federation asked for a clarification on the voting totals.
The representative of the United States expressed regret that the Committee had demonstrated such a deeply politicized and anti-civil-society posture, adding: “This is deeply unfortunate.” She said her delegation would request a full vote within the Council to overturn the Committee’s decision. The representative of the Russian Federation called upon all Committee members to ensure that their decision was upheld by the Council, while the representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea thanked the Committee for its decision and the representative of Cuba stressed that the body’s responsibility was to ensure that the work of the organizations that applied for consultative status was in-line with the principles and ideals of the United Nations.
The representative of the United States said that by reversing previous Committee decisions, the Council had demonstrated that the Committee had not lived up to its mandate. The representative of the Russian Federation underscored that there were 19 members on the Committee and that even if Member States did not like the body’s decisions, it still had to respect them. The representative of Cuba pointed out that the majority of the decisions made by the Committee were upheld by the Council, while the representative of Venezuela said that deciding against granting consultative status did not mean that a Committee member was in fact opposed to civil society.
The Union of Non-Governmental Associations “The International Non-Governmental Organization” “The World Union of Cossack Atamans” representative said his group believed that Cossacks could have an impact on the establishment. They had established that they suffered from genocide throughout history and had a deep understanding of the world’s humanity. The United Nations and its structures should put pressure to bear on leaders and should support Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin and United States President Donald Trump and their quest for mutual understanding. They had the responsibility for curbing the arms race and stemming terrorism.
The representative of the Russian Federation asked the representative of the group to provide more information on the communication campaign listed on one of its websites. The representative of the group said it was a military organization and there were people who would be able to answer in writing and they were more qualified to do so.
The representative of the Russian Federation said that the website noted that the group was trying to achieve recognition of the Cossacks who were subject to genocide by the Communist Government. He asked which Communist Government was involved in that genocide. The representative of the group replied that the website was referring to the Government that overthrew the Russian empire.
The representative of the Russian Federation asked for more information and documents about the genocide mentioned. He also asked for clarification on the website information on a telecommunications campaign, and he requested to know what that referred to, and to what extent the statement made coincided with the Convention for the Prevention of Genocide, and what were the provisions of that Convention that supported his claim of genocide.
The Committee then postponed consideration of the organization pending further information.
The representative of the Ambedkar Center for Justice and Peace said that it had conducted education of marginalized people on their rights given in the Constitution so that if they had any difficulties enjoying their rights they could follow the provisions of the Constitution to obtain justice. The Center had also been educating people on human rights at many levels. As far as questions from delegates on the website were concerned, it was in the process of being improved. There were several years of input that needed to be updated, and that would satisfy the needs of Governments who wished to look into the development of the organization. In accordance with bringing peace and social justice to a larger community, the Center took pride in joining the many positive forces who conducted programmes. At the same time, there were no outside grants and it was voluntary work, he said.
The representative of India said she was reassured that the website would be updated. She also wished to learn more about the details of the projects on education, including their duration, coverage and source of funding. The representative of the entity responded that there were different projects being carried out that would be put on the website, as well as an updated financial statement.
The Committee then postponed consideration of the organization pending further information.
The representative of the International Centre for Supporting Rights and Freedoms said that it monitored civil and political rights violations. It worked in the Gulf Cooperation Council, which was the most serious region when it came to the work of human rights defenders. It was perhaps the most dangerous region in the world. Defenders were working amidst the fabricated news of the governmental news media. His group would continue its work.
The representative of the Russian Federation asked for further detail on the projects the Centre had carried out in 2017.
The representative of the Centre said that it worked on documenting violations in the Gulf Cooperation Council. It had a website and it listed its daily activities, as well as four yearly reports that were also published there. In 2017, it trained people to document and publish reports through special measures and through the Bahrain universal periodic review.
The representative of the Russian Federation said that in the application the Centre said it was regional but it also said it supported activists throughout the world. He requested the names of other countries in which the group worked. The representative of the Centre said that it was an international organization. It worked in Switzerland and documented violations in certain regions, particularly Kuwait, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Oman.
The representative of Sudan asked about the activities in the Gulf Cooperation Council, as the website of the organization said that it worked in other countries. He requested further details on the activities in those countries, and their partners there, and requested a written response.
The Committee then postponed consideration of the organization pending further information.