The Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations recommended 6 entities for special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council today, the sixth day of its resumed session, while deferring action on 73 others.
In a rare vote, it recommended to the Council that it not grant consultative status to the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung e.V. (Germany), by a vote of 10 against to 5 in favour, with 2 abstentions.
It postponed action on several applications as Committee members sought additional information from candidate organizations regarding such issues as funding, project status and partnerships.
It took note of one organization’s request to close its application.
In addition, the Committee approved the reclassification of three organizations and deferred action on a fourth.
During its afternoon question-and-answer session, the Committee heard from four non-governmental organizations, deferring action on three of them pending written responses to delegates’ questions. The fourth announced that it would withdraw its application.
The 19-member Committee vets applications submitted by non-governmental organizations, recommending general, special or roster status on the basis of the applicant’s mandate, governance and financial regime. Organizations with roster status can only attend meetings of the Economic and Social Council. Those enjoying special status can attend meetings and issue statements, while those with general status can speak during meetings and propose agenda items.
The Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations will meet again at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, 30 May.
The representative for The Center for Justice and Accountability (United States) said her international organization was dedicated to deterring torture and other human rights abuses through, among other things, litigation in partnership with countries and victims. Most of its funding came from lawyers who provided their services on a pro bono basis, she explained.
The representative of Cuba requested details about future projects.
The representative of China asked if her organization cooperated with local partners in countries other than the ones listed in its application.
The representative of the group said that, with consultative status, her organization would provide support to any interested Member States. It would also like to be a source of information for the United Nations and participate in side events and other opportunities. She added that her organization had provided list of all the countries in which it had projects, and that more information was available on its website.
The representative of China asked for more information, in writing, about the group’s litigation work as well as examples of recent projects and activities.
The Committee then postponed consideration of the organization’s application.
The representative of Establishment of Sheikh Thani bin Abdullah Al Thani for Humanitarian Services (Qatar) said his organization was founded in 2009 to provide humanitarian assistance in poor regions. Impartiality, humanity, independence and objectivity were its core values. He noted the work it had carried out in several countries as well as with United Nations entities.
The representative of the United States asked about the outcomes of its 45 educational projects in 16 countries which sought to promote a culture of tolerance as well as good morals.
The representative of the organization replied that by good morals, his group meant those which enabled people to show tolerance. They were not new values, but values that everyone should share.
The representative of the Russian Federation requested details of projects undertaken in his country.
The representative of the United States asked how the organization identified and vetted its local partners.
The representative of the group said it only financed those organizations which had been accredited in their own countries. He added that fund transfers were carried out through accredited banks.
The representative of the United States requested details about recent meetings in which the organization had participated and to elaborate on the significant amount of funds it had received from the public.
The organization’s representative said the foundation was publicly funded. It received funds in various ways, including electronically and through money orders as well as by hand. He noted its role in the 2016 World Humanitarian Summit.
The representative of the United States requested more information about psychosocial support provided to refugees and internally displaced persons, as well as partnerships with the United Nations, civil society and others. She asked that the answers be provided in writing.
The Committee then postponed consideration of the group’s application.
The representative of Dansk Flygtningehjælp (Denmark) said his organization provided support to refugees, working in full compliance with local authorities. Consultative status would facilitate its participation in humanitarian dialogue at the United Nations, particularly in Geneva. In response to a question posed earlier by the representative of the Russian Federation, he said all its projects in Syria came under the umbrella of the Government, complying with local laws and regulations, and in partnership with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, among others.
The representative of the Russian Federation said he wanted to know more in detail about the projects referred to in its application, including their locations, goals and results.
The organization’s representative provided a detailed response about its projects, including one with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent with a $2 million budget.
The representative of the Russian Federation requested that information in writing.
The Committee then postponed consideration of the organization’s application.
The representative of Centre universitaire de droit international humanitaire (Switzerland) described his organization’s work in international humanitarian law and transitional justice.
The representative of Turkey asked for clarification of the nature of the support it received from several countries for its research activities.
The representative of Cuba requested details on its projects, stating that the responses to the Committee had been too general.
The representative of the group said the Committee’s question was about international organizations, not States. He also emphasized that academic independence was dear to his organization. He went on to state that his organization would no longer respond to questions from the Committee and would abstain from further dialogue. It would withdraw its application.
The representative of Cuba said the organization had been under consideration for one year only. It would be a good thing if the Secretariat could make it clear to non-governmental organization applying for consultative status what the work of the Committee involved.
Requests for Special Consultative Status
The Committee recommended that the Economic and Social Council grant special consultative status to the following six organizations:
The Arab Council for Supporting Fair Trial (Egypt);
American Human Rights Council (United States);
Center for Constitutional Rights Inc. (United States);
Embajada Mundial de Activistas por la Paz (Global Embassy of Activists for Peace) Corp. (United States);
Mittetulundusühing Fenno-Ugria Asutus (Estonia); and
Young Global Leadership Foundation, Inc. (United States).
The Committee postponed consideration of the following 72 organizations:
Chinese Culture Promotion Society (China) — as the representative of the United States asked for more details about its funding and as well as a list of the 32 organizations that supported its International Cultural Industry Forum.
Diplomatic Mission Peace and Prosperity (Albania) — as the representative of Greece asked the organization to provide an updated financial statement.
Direct Focus Community Aid (Pakistan) — as the representative of Pakistan asked for a list of its donors.
EMPOWER (India) — as the representative of India, noting that it had only one ongoing project dealing with shelter and food for women and children, asked that it describe its future activities and how it planned to achieve its aims and objectives.
Establishment of Sheikh Thani bin Abdullah Al Thani for Humanitarian Services (Qatar) — as the representative of the United States requested details on its cooperation with several United Nations agencies.
Formation Awareness and Community Empowerment Society (Pakistan) — as the representative of Pakistan requested more details about its activities.
Imam Khomeini Relief Foundation (Iran) — as the representative of the United States asked for more details about its funding sources.
International Human Right Organization (Pakistan) — as the representative of Pakistan asked for expenditures related to “IDPs [internally displaced persons] Camp Bannu” as well as any partnerships it had with other groups.
International Non-Olympic Committee (India) — as the representative of India asked the organization to explain how its three planned conferences — on women’s empowerment and rural entrepreneurship, advanced management and the evolving world order — would help it achieve its aim of promoting non-Olympic sports.
International Non-Olympic University (India) — as the representative of India, noting the similarities of its application with that of the International Non-Olympic Committee, asked that it explain its relationship with that group.
International Youth Committee (India) — as the representative of India requested details of the donations the group received.
Islamic African Relief Agency (Sudan) — as the representative of the United States requested details about recent and ongoing projects as well as any results and outcomes of completed projects.
Justice Centre Hong Kong Limited (China) — as the representative of Cuba requested details about the funds it received from international organizations.
Pakistan International Human Rights Organization (Pakistan) — as the representative of Pakistan said the organization had still not provided information about its funding sources.
Palestinian Association for Human Rights (Lebanon) — as the representative of Israel requested details about its contributors.
Public Aid Organization (Iraq) — as the representative of Turkey requested details about its advocacy and lobbying activities, and asked whether it had staff working outside Iraq.
Research Society of International Law (Pakistan) — as the representative of India requested details about its relationship with affiliated organizations, who its primary clients were, and the huge difference between its income and expenditures.
Sheikh Eid Bin Mohammad Al Thani Charitable Association (Qatar) — as the representative of the United States asked its vetting procedures for ensuring that the financial and material assistance it provided to people in conflict zones did not end up in terrorist hands.
Talent Incubator (Benin) — as the representative of the United States requested details about specific outcomes from the group’s young entrepreneurship programme.
The F W de Klerk Foundation Trust (South Africa) — as the representative of South Africa requested more information about the group’s events, and whether it was affiliated or partnered with any international organizations.
The Union of Non-Governmental Associations "The International Non-governmental Organization "The World Union of Cossack Atamans" (Kazakhstan) — as the representative of the Russian Federation asked which non-governmental organizations in her country the group was in touch with.
The Voice Society (Pakistan) — as the representative of Pakistan, noting that the group had two donors, asked that it clarify the nature of its financing.
World Fund for Development and Planning (Uganda) — as the representative of the United States requested more details about its media-related project.
Alianza Americas (United States) — as the representative of Cuba asked that the organization elaborate on its membership structure.
Alliance to Renew Co-operation among Humankind (Belgium) — as the representative of Iran asked that the group explain why less than 40 per cent of its funding went to projects.
Anti-Corruption Foundation (Russian Federation) — as the representative of the Russian Federation asked which foreign organizations were using the group’s data to obtain information of interest to them on international financial flows.
Association pour la défense des droits de l'homme et des revendications démocratiques/culturelles du peuple Azerbaidjanais-Iran (France) — as the representative of Iran requested that it use, on its website, the proper geographical term for Azerbaijan of Iran, and further to respect the territorial integrity of a Member State.
Assyrian Aid Society of America Inc. (United States) — as the representative of Turkey requested details on its planned meetings and publications.
Canadian Human Rights International Organization (Canada) — as the representative of Cuba requested a complete list of countries in which the group was active.
Centre Zagros pour les Droits de l’Homme (Switzerland) — as the representative of Iran requested a breakdown of the contributions recorded in the group’s 2016 financial report.
Christian Solidarity International (Switzerland) — as the representative of Cuba, noting a reference on the group’s website to her country, asked if it had projects in Cuba and, if so, who its local partners were.
Congrès National des Arméniens Occidentaux (France) — as the representative of Turkey requested details on an internal dispute within that organization in 2017. She also asked if its previous replies to the Committee had been provided by duly authorized representatives and requested information on decisions taken by its so-called Congress which took place in January 2017, but was later said to have been suspended by court decision.
Cooperación Internacional (Spain) — as the representative of Cuba asked for more details about the private donors who accounted for 41 per cent of its funding.
Coptic Solidarity (United States) — as the representative of India requested more recent financial statements and audit reports, and how it was using its assets.
Dansk Flygtningehjælp (Denmark) — as the representative of the Russian Federation asked for more information about its activities in Syria, including whether they had the permission of the Syrian authorities.
Diakonia (Sweden) — as the representative of Cuba requested details about its project in her country, including local partners.
European Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Limited (Belgium) — as the representative of Cuba asked that the group provide an updated budget, with details of the private donors who made up 100 per cent of its financing.
Global Peace Foundation (United States) — as the representative of China requested a breakdown of the funds it had received from non-governmental organization in the United States.
Hokok Coalición Internacional Contra la Impunidad (Spain) — as the representative of China requested information about the group’s activities in Latin America.
Inimõiguste Instituut (Estonia) — as the representative of the Russian Federation asked what the group was doing to resolve citizenship problems in its home country and to address the educational rights of linguistic minorities in the Baltic States.
International Action Network for Gender Equity and Law (United States) — as the representative of Nicaragua asked how it would continue its projects, given its budget deficit.
International Association of Genocide Scholars, Inc. (United States) — as the representative of China requested details about the group’s criteria for selecting scholars working for it, and the representative of Sudan asked that it furnish a list of those who participated at its meeting in Australia in July 2017 on the theme “justice against genocide” as well as the outcome of that event.
International Dalit Solidarity Network (Denmark) — as the representative of India asked that the organization clarify the distinction between members, affiliates and research affiliates, and whether any of those already had consultation status.
International Organisation to Preserve Human Rights Ltd. (United Kingdom) — as the representative of Iran asked a question about the group’s name, which appeared to have been changed prior to the submission of its application. He also asked whether the organization had clearance to use the United Nations emblem on its website. The Committee Secretary said the use of the Organization’s emblem was very restricted, and that he was unaware of any authorization being given to the group.
Interregional Non-governmental Organization “Committee against Torture” (Russian Federation) — as the representative of the Russian Federation asked whether the group was no longer working in the Chechen Republic and whether it was active in other parts of the Russian Federation.
Le Collectif de la Paix au Sri Lanka (France) — as the representative of China asked if the group would respond to the second of the two questions put to it by the Committee in December 2017. In addition, the representative of the Russian Federation asked that it clarify the nature of its activities with the National Assembly of France and other State institutions, and the representative of India asked about the difference between membership dues and contributions from members.
Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture (United Kingdom) — as the representative of Iran requested information about the way in which the organization verified the claims and referrals which it received.
Mittetulundusühing G-Global Development Community (Estonia) — as the representative of the United States asked for more details about the types of projects the group received and the criteria it used to select which projects to fund.
Mother Helpage (United Kingdom) — as the representative of Israel requested an update on the organization’s plans to set up fundraising offices in Dubai, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
Muslim Hands (United Kingdom) — as the representative of Israel asked whether it undertook projects in Kashmir.
NK Watch (Republic of Korea) — as the representative of the Russian Federation, noting that the group described itself as a research organization, asked how it verified the information it obtained.
National Committee on BRICS Research (Russian Federation) — as the representative of the United States asked that it elaborate on the nature of the documents it was preparing, and with whom it was partnering to create them.
Organisation Suisse d'aide aux réfugiés (Switzerland) — as the representative of Cuba requested details about the sources of the donations which made up 52 per cent of its budget.
Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays, Inc. (P-FOX) (United States) — as the representative of Israel asked that it elaborate on the use of change therapy.
Peace Brigades International (United Kingdom) — as the representative of China requested a list of the countries for which it made oral statements in 2014 and 2015.
Peace Research Institute Oslo (Norway) — as the representative of Cuba requested that it detail the projects for which it had received Government funding.
Rohingya League Ltd. (United Kingdom) — as the representative of India asked what its future plans were, given its financial crunch.
Sahipkıran Stratejik Araştırmalar Merkezi (Turkey) — as the representative of Greece requested a list of the 25 geographic and thematic tasks in which it was undertaking research.
Scholé Futuro (Italy) — as the representative of Cuba, noting that the organization had eight members in Cuba, asked whether those individuals belonged to any Cuban institutions. She also asked what projects or research activities they were participating in.
Stichting Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (Netherlands) — as the representative of China asked that the group explain how it maintained its independence when it got most of its income from Government contributions.
Syrian American Medical Society Foundation (United States) — as the representative of the Russian Federation asked to know from which international organizations it received funding, and the representative of Iran requested details about its collaboration with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent.
National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (United States) — as the representative of Cuba, noting that under United States law it could not carry out political activities, asked that it explain why most of the organization’s partners in most of its projects were political. She also requested updated budget information.
Tom Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice (United States) — as the representative of Nicaragua asked that it explain how it considered itself to be international and in what countries it was present.
Turkiye Diyanet Vakfi (Turkey) — as the representative of Greece requested a list of regional and international organizations with which the organization cooperated.
USA Refugees and Immigrants Corp. (United States) — as the representative of Venezuela asked that the group specify with which local governments it was working, and that it provide updated financial information.
Vang Pao Peace Institute (United States) — as the representative of China requested that the group elaborate on the sources of its information.
Women Living under Muslim Laws – International Solidarity Network (United Kingdom) — as the representative of Iran requested to know more about the expansion of the group’s activities into 10 new countries.
Women’s Freedom Forum, Inc. (United States) — as the representative of Iran requested details about the structure and function of the group’s advisory board.
Women’s Refugee Commission, Inc. (United States) — as the representative of Cuba requested clarification of a contradiction in its application, whereby the organization said it had no relations with the Government but undertook Government-funded projects. She also requested an update on new projects in 2016 and 2017. The representative of the United States said receiving Government funding did not imply a relationship. The representative of Cuba said her counterpart from the United States had understood her question correctly. The representative of the Russian Federation said funding by States as a rule meant Government involvement. He asked if the organization was receiving instructions in relation to its projects. The representative of the United States said that, from her country’s perspective, organizations could get funding from a variety of sources, including Government sources. There was therefore no contradiction.
World Without Genocide (United States) — as the representative of Sudan requested that the organization explain its relationship with the International Coalition for the International Criminal Court.
Youth RISE (Resource, Information, Support, Education) Limited (United Kingdom) — as the representative of India asked what kind of activities it planned to undertake with its member organizations.
The Center for Justice and Accountability (United States).
The Committee recommended not to grant consultative status to the following organization:
Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung e.V. (Germany) — as the representatives of the Russian Federation asked what projects the organization was carrying out in his country. The representative of Cuba, posing a similar question, went on to ask if the organization recognized his country’s sovereignty and, if so, what were the reasons for its actions against a Member State. He also asked for clarification of its connection with various organizations and individuals, including those involved in the bombing of a Cubana airliner in 1976.
The representative of Greece said the organization — with more than 200 projects in more than 120 countries, as well as an office in New York that focused exclusively on the work of the United Nations — met the criteria for consultative status. Noting that the organization had consistently replied, in writing and in person, to the Committee’s questions, he requested a vote on its application for consultative status, adding that his delegation would vote in favour. He stated that attempts to discredit the organization were unsubstantiated and made for political reasons only.
The representative of China, on a point of order, asked what the Committee would be voting on.
JORGE DOTTA (Uruguay), Committee Chair, said it would vote on whether to recommend that the Economic and Social Council grant consultative status to the non-governmental organization.
The representative of the United States, in an explanation of vote before the vote, said her delegation would vote in favour of recommending consultative status. The organization was well-known and highly regarded and already working with the United Nations on several topics. Consultative status would enhance its work, she said, adding that the organization clearly met the criteria for consultative status.
The representative of the Russian Federation said the situation was unprecedented. A delegation was insisting on consultative status for an organization whose application was only submitted a year ago. Emphasizing that due consideration must be given to its application, he said his delegation wished that the organization would provide all the information requested by the Committee. He would vote against recommending consultative status.
The representative of Cuba said the organization was a political foundation whose application had been considered at two Committee sessions, during which questions were raised and vague and evasive responses received, if any were received at all. As a Committee member, his delegation had a right to request clarification of the organization’s operations and purposes. He expressed regret that one delegation wanted to impinge on his delegation’s right to ask legitimate questions. He expressed concern over the work of the organization’s office in Mexico, which included democratic transition in Cuba. In the best-case scenario, that demonstrated a total lack of knowledge about Cuba. In the worst case, its declared purpose was flagrant interference in Cuba and an attempt to subvert the constitutional order of a Member State.
The Committee then voted to recommend to the Economic and Social Council that it not grant consultative status to the organization, by a vote of 10 against to 5 in favour, with 2 abstentions and 2 absent.
In an explanation of vote after the vote, the representative of Iran expressed disappointment that the Council was being asked to make a political decision on a technical issue. He insisted on fair treatment of all applications and respect for the principles of the United Nations Charter, including the equal sovereignty of Member States and avoiding double standards in dealing with applications.
The representative of South Africa, also in an explanation of vote after the vote, said the organization was one among many on the deferred list, pending responses to legitimate questions. It was not clear why it should be isolated.
The representative of Pakistan said each and every member had a right to ask questions.
The representative of Germany, expressing disappointment at the result of the vote, said the organization had worked tirelessly to answer the Committee’s questions. Founded in 1955, it was highly regarded and professional. Some Committee members had chosen to obstruct the application of a non-governmental organization that wanted to work with the United Nations. Without the Konrad Adenauer Foundation at the United Nations, an important voice was missing.
The representative of the European Union delegation voiced support for the organization’s application, which was submitted in May 2016. It should have been recommended for consultative status and it was regrettable that the Committee did not follow that course of action.
The Committee was also informed that Bureau international pour le respect des droits de l’homme au Sahara occidental (Switzerland) had decided to withdraw its application for consultative status.
Requests for Reclassification
The Committee recommended the reclassification of the following organizations:
Global Economist Forum (Bangladesh) — from special to general;
The Sant Nirankari Mandal, Delhi (India) — from special to general; and
Universal Peace Federation (United States) — from special to general.
It deferred consideration of the following organization:
Widows for Peace through Democracy (United Kingdom) — from roster to special, as the representative of Turkey asked for more information about the group’s ongoing or planned projects, and the representative of India asked through what organization it had submitted statements to the Commission on the Status of Women.