Continuing its resumed session today, the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations recommended 27 organizations for special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council and deferred action on 61 applications, while also approving one request for status reclassification and postponing action on one other such request.
The 19-member Committee considers applications for consultative status and requests for reclassification submitted by non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Once an application has been reviewed and approved by the Committee, it is considered recommended for consultative status. Organizations which 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 today pending responses from those organizations to questions posed by Committee members. Among other things, the questions related to details of the groups’ activities, partners, expenditures and sources of funding. In addition, the representative of China noted that the websites of several groups referred erroneously to Taiwan as a country, not as a province of China, and requested corrections.
In the afternoon, the Committee held an interactive dialogue with five non-governmental organizations — Sre Foundation; Al Najat Charity Society; World Association for Sexual Health; Congrès National des Arméniens Occidentaux; and The Union of Non-governmental Associations “The International Non-Governmental Organization” “The World Union of Cossack Atamans”.
The Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations will meet again at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, 22 May, to continue its resumed session.
Interactive Dialogue with Non-Governmental Organizations
A speaker from Srei Foundation said the organization has worked for nearly 10 years on such issues as women’s empowerment and violence against women; health care; skills development; advocacy and awareness-raising; poverty alleviation; and the rehabilitation of rescued trafficked women, noting that West Bengal has the highest rate of trafficked females. It also has focused on the preservation of historical, religious and cultural heritage.
The representative of Pakistan, citing the organization’s budget deficit, asked about plans for maintaining its operations. The speaker from Srei Foundation replied that Srei Infrastructure is among the largest corporations in India, which helps to support the Foundation, as do other marginal donations.
The Committee then granted special consultative status to Srei Foundation.
The speaker from Al Najat Charity Society, to questions previously posed by the representative of the Russian Federation on its activities in Syria and relations with Damascus, said the group’s work is strictly humanitarian. Most of such efforts for Syrian refugees is being done in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, in cooperation with local and national authorities, the United Nations and accredited partners.
The representative of the Russian Federation, noting that the Society works in 15 countries, asked about the mechanisms in place to foster such cooperation. He also requested a full list of projects and costs on a country-by-country basis. The speaker from Al Najat Charity Society replied that there is a process in place for its accreditation partners, which involves Kuwait’s foreign ministry.
The Committee then deferred action on the application.
The speaker from the World Association for Sexual Health said the organization presented its first application in 2015 and has been deferred for five years. It has replied to all questions. Noting that his colleague has presented to the Committee at least three times, he explained that “it is very important to gain special consultative status” and reiterated his strong willingness to reply to any queries. The World Association is the oldest scientific organization in the field, founded in 1978, with society members representing almost 10,000 scientists, specialists and other experts in the field of sexual health. Its mission is to transfer scientific knowledge to promote sexual health and well-being. “We believe our goals and our mission are aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” he stressed.
The representative of Nicaragua asked about the results of its most recent projects, while the representative of India asked whether it is affiliated with other United Nations bodies, notably the World Health Organization (WHO).
The speaker from World Association for Sexual Health replied that the group is comprised of members from across five continents. Its main activities include organizing annual scientific world congresses for sharing knowledge, and celebrating World Sexual Health Day on 4 September to raise awareness about the importance of sexuality, sexual health and sexual well-being. It also publishes a peer-reviewed scientific journal and has participated in the international classification of various diseases, notably for the sexual health chapter. It is also working with WHO on a global survey on sexuality.
The representative of China asked for details on its work with the Pan American Health Organization and WHO, and whether there are any projects ongoing in Asia. The representative of Pakistan, noting that the group acts as an umbrella organization, asked how it works with its partners and members.
The speaker from World Association for Sexual Health replied that, in the past, it had an official relationship with WHO and it is currently requesting that status again. There are various organizations that are official members of the World Association. They develop their own activities. To be members, however, they must comply with its status, bylaws and missions. As an umbrella organization, it provides cross-partnership guidance, and science-based knowledge. There are also standards of practice for sexual medicine and sexual psychotherapy, among other areas, which are important for professionals across the globe. The representative of Pakistan asked for a list of partners in his country.
The Committee then deferred action on the application.
The speaker from Congrès National des Arméniens Occidentaux said the group submitted its application for status in 2013 and since then, it has answered all questions raised by the Committee. On 12 February, it received a message that it has been deferred to the current resumed session; however, there were no queries included in that communication. The organization made sure all its activities were reflected correctly in its materials and on its website.
The representative of Pakistan asked about its ongoing and planned projects. The representative of China asked whether there are any activities in Asia and, if so, which countries. The representative of Turkey asked about relationships with Turkish committees.
The speaker from Congrès National des Arméniens Occidentaux replied that it does not have activities in Asia. It works primarily in the Middle East, notably Turkey, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq. It has members in the Russian Federation and it is registered in the United States and France. It is also present in Argentina, Mexico and Germany. On the tenth anniversary of the death of a Turkish writer of Armenian origin, there was a meeting to identify the lowest common denominator among people of various backgrounds: Turks, Arabs, Assyrians, Greeks and others who live together – during war and peace. The group wondered what would allow them to live in peace, prosperity, tolerance, respect for minorities and majorities. There were three conferences held in 2017, which will be held again in 2019, as well as a book published, titled 140 Days, which brought together scholars of Turkish, Kurdish, Armenian, Arab, Christian, Shiite, Alawite and others, who concluded that there is a possibility to focus on the lowest common denominator, rather than always focusing on differences. “This is a major activity that is ongoing,” he explained. The representative of Turkey then asked for a written response to its activities in Syria and Iraq.
Following a reply by the speaker, the representative of Greece asked whether Turkey’s delegate was satisfied with that response, to which she replied that she would like further information about the group’s partners.
The Committee then deferred action on the application.
The speaker from The Union of Non-governmental Associations “The International Non-governmental Organization” “The World Union of Cossack Atamans” said the group thanked the United Kingdom and other countries that had supported its position about the unjustified delays in granting Economic and Social Council status. The group supports democracy, peace and intercommunal harmony. The representative of the Russian Federation asked for details about its provision of humanitarian assistance in Ukraine, how such projects are funded, and whether it is active in a specific region of that country.
The speaker replied that during a highly tense period, he had met in Maidan with representatives of religions, national minorities and Cossack organizations to discuss the volatile situation. “But people still had not started shooting at each other at that point,” he said. Two years later, Cossacks from both sides decided not to shoot at each other. There was no conflict between Cossacks, a great demonstration between Cossacks and “between our two countries”. The representative of the Russian Federation asked whether any humanitarian assistance was provided to the population. The speaker replied that there were no direct deliveries. Due to a law in Kazakhstan to not interfere in Ukraine, he could not initiate such activities.
The representative of the Russian Federation asked for the group’s financial records since 2016 in written form, about projects under way since 2018, and about plans for 2019. The speaker replied that all documents have been submitted on time and are also available on the group’s website. The representative of the Russian Federation requested that it be provided through the Committee’s online form.
The Committee then deferred action on the application.
The Committee recommended that the Economic and Social Council reclassify the status of the following organization:
International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience (Luxembourg) — from roster to general.
The Committee deferred consideration of reclassification of the following organization:
Eastern Regional Organization for Public Administration (Philippines) — from special to general — as the representative of China said the group failed to use the correct terminology for the Taiwan province of China, as well as Hong Kong, on its website.
Requests for Special Consultative Status
A discussion emerged about the organization Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation (United States), whose representative engaged with the Committee during its interactive session on 20 May. The representative of Viet Nam, an observer to the Committee, put on record his delegation’s strong objection to that group’s application for consultative status. Describing the Federation as a “politically motivated group” that continues to carry out activities aimed at dividing Vietnam’s territory, he pointed out that it led a protest during which it burned the Vietnamese flag and that it employs rhetoric aimed at inciting ethnic and religious hatred. In past sessions, such actions led the Committee to reject the organization’s application for consultative status, he said, urging members to take the same decision at the current session.
The representative of the United States, speaking on the same matter, said the Federation’s mission is to protect and promote the rights of the Krom community living in Viet Nam. Among other good work, she said, the group aims to ensure that Krom community members enjoy the same opportunities in Viet Nam as other groups, including by advocating for more education in the Khmer language.
Several representatives also referred to the group’s previous assertion that it has been affiliated with the United Nations Department of Global Communication since 2015. A representative of the Secretariat clarified that such affiliation is a separate process from accreditation with the Economic and Social Council.
The representative of Pakistan requested translation from French into English of the response by SOS EXCLUS pour la protection et l’épanouissement de la famille, de l’enfant et des personnes vulnérables (Mauritania) to previous questions. A Secretariat official then replied that the organization’s human rights activities include advocating for the rights of the child; and creating a high council of childhood in 2017 to promote and protect children’s human rights. A draft law on gender-based violence was rejected in April by parliamentarians and Islamists as it contained articles that ran counter to Islam, he said, noting also that the 2019 action plan focuses on the application of laws and actions to criminalize slavery. The representative of Pakistan then asked how the group would work to de-criminalize slavery, given that its efforts on gender-based violence were thwarted.
The Committee postponed consideration of the following 61 organizations:
Atwar Organization for Research and Community Development (Libya) — as the representative of Bahrain requested more information about the group’s budget deficit;
Eurasia Partnership Foundation (Armenia) — as the representative of the Russian Federation asked the group to provide more detailed information on the funding it has received from Governments and international organizations;
Fundación Latinoamérica Reforma (Chile) — as the representative of the Russian Federation asked the organization to clarify whether it provides social and medical assistance for drug addiction;
Institute of Rural Management (Pakistan) — as the representative of India requested more information about the funding and integration of the organization’s “smart schools”;
North-East Affected Area Development Society (India) — as the representative of Pakistan asked for more information about the organization’s sources of income and expenditures;
Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy (State of Palestine) — as the representative of Israel asked for an accurate list of the group’s Board of Trustees, as well as more information about how the organization maintains its independence while receiving large sources of financing from foreign Governments;
Shaik Taher Azzawi Charity Organization (Libya) — as the representative of China asked for clarification about the group’s large budget deficit;
Srei Foundation (India) — as the representative of Pakistan asked the organization to provide more information about the various conferences it has hosted which were attended at the Heads of State level;
Women’s Rights and Health Project Ltd/Gte (Nigeria) — as the representative of Pakistan requested more information about the international organizations listed as funding 100 per cent of the group’s projects, and for a list of those projects;
Al-Aqsa Association for the Development of the Islamic Waqf/Endowment (Israel) — as the representative of Israel asked about the group’s work with Jordan, about whether it works with the Jerusalem municipalities, and for a comprehensive list of its partners;
Baloch Voice Association (France) — as the representative of Pakistan asked the group to provide a comprehensive list of its past partners;
Groupe de Recherche et d’Information sur la Paix et la Sécurité (Belgium) — as the representative of China said the group used incorrect terminology to refer to the Taiwan province of China on its website;
Conflict Armament Research Ltd. (United Kingdom) — as the representative of the Russian Federation asked the group to provide more information about its work outside the United Kingdom, including about its local partners;
Institut international de recherche, de documentation et de formation pour la prévention et la lutte contre la falsification des produits de santé (France) — as the representative of Cuba asked for detailed information about the organization’s private sector donors;
International Legal Assistance Consortium (Sweden) — as the representative of Cuba asked for more information about the group’s work in Latin America and the Caribbean, including any partners in the region;
Khmer M’Chas Srok (France) — as the representative of China asked for clarification about the organization’s international work;
Relations publiques sans frontiers (Canada) — as the representative of China asked for more detailed information about its administration fees;
RüstungsInformationsBüro e.V. (Germany) — as the representative of the Russian Federation asked for more information about the group’s international work and partners;
The United Society (United Kingdom) — as the representative of India asked for more information about the group’s relationship with entities and Governments abroad;
Afrikaanse Forum vir Burgerregte (South Africa) — as the representative of India asked whether the organization has any affiliations with international groups or Governments outside of South Africa, and requested a comprehensive list of such partners and activities;
Al-Shafa’a Humanitarian Organization (Iraq) — as the representative of Libya asked for clarification about the group’s stated objectives relating to changing “tribal norms and customs”;
Arab Program for Human Rights Activists (Egypt) — as the representative of Bahrain requested clarification about the organization’s establishment date and its lack of funding;
Asamblea Permanente por los Derechos Humanos La Matanza (Argentina) — as the representative of Turkey asked for more information about the group’s financial support from other human rights organizations in Argentina;
Association mauritanienne d’appui aux nécessiteux (Mauritania) — as the representative of Libya asked for more information on the activities of the organization’s centre charged with assisting victims of violence;
Blue Cross & Blue Crescent Society (India) — as the representative of Pakistan asked for more information about the organization’s administrative costs and other expenditures, as well as whether it has received approval from the Government of India for pending projects;
Cairo Foundation for Development and Law (Egypt) — as the representative of Cuba asked which projects the organization conducts jointly with the Ministry of Social Solidarity and the National Council of the Woman of Egypt;
Chanan Development Association (Pakistan) — as the representative of India requested more details information about the organization’s work with 360 youth groups and more than 15,000 volunteer members;
China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation (China) — as the representative of Cuba asked for more information on the funds the organization has received from Governments;
Coordination Waï (Eveil) relative à l’unité nationale et la lutte contre l’esclavage (Mauritania) — as the representative of Burundi requested a list of the activities carried out by the organization in 2018;
Dalit Welfare Association (Nepal) — as the representative of India requested more information about the organization’s stated engagement in conferences and activities of the United Nations;
Drug Free Pakistan Foundation (Pakistan) — as the representative of India asked for details about when its accreditation was received from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC); the representative of Mexico asked whether it had incorporated messages into its work programme from the extraordinary session on the global drugs problem of the 2016 General Assembly special session;
East Human Rights Group (Ukraine) — as the representative of the Russian Federation requested the group’s most recent financial accounts;
Engineering Association for Development and Environment (Iraq) — as the representative of Turkey asked about the group’s humanitarian aid projects for displaced persons, returnees and refugees carried out over the last two years;
Environmental and Societal Development Foundation (Pakistan) — as the representative of India asked the group to explain the role of both its international and organizational members in its activities and management processes;
HUJRA Village Support Organization (Pakistan) — as the representative of Pakistan asked about the research areas on which the organization spent $5.67 million;
Individual Land Trust (Pakistan) — as the representative of Pakistan asked about the group’s gender-based police reforms and whether it is working with the Government on that initiative;
International Non-Olympic Committee (India) — as the representative of India asked about the group’s ongoing projects and how the total budget is being spent on them;
International Non-Olympic University (India) — as the representative of India asked about the group’s ongoing activities;
International Organization for Educational Development (India) — as the representative of India requested details on the group’s operations across so many countries with a small budget and no expenditures on projects;
International Youth Committee (India) — as the representative of India requested the group provide a list of its international programmes carried out by its volunteers;
International Youth Council — Yemen Chapter (Yemen) — as the representative of China asked for details on how the organization is able to operate in Yemen, given the situation in that country;
Justice Centre Hong Kong Limited (China) — as the representative of Burundi asked for details about a project carried out by the group between April 2016 through March 2019, and whether other such projects are being planned;
Kaarvan Crafts Foundation (Pakistan) — as the representative of India asked about the findings of the group’s market linkages policy intervention study and about any market-linkage activities;
Komitet pravnika za ljudska prava (Serbia) — as the representative of China asked for a list of local non-governmental organizations with which the group cooperates and about the nature of such work;
Kurdistan Institute for Human Rights (Iraq) — as the representative of Libya asked about the group’s projects and plans;
Ligue Mauritanienne pour l’appui aux initiatives associatives (Mauritania) — as the representative of Burundi requested the group’s updated financial report;
NORSAAC (Ghana) — as the representative of India asked for detailed information regarding the group’s sources of international and other types of funding;
Organisation Tamaynut (Morocco) — as the representative of Burundi asked about the group’s projects related to environmental rights;
Pak Special Persons Welfare Society (Pakistan) — as the representative of Pakistan asked about the group’s plans for a community centre and any other projects;
Public Organization “Institute for the Study of Dependencies, Drug Policy Issues and Monitoring the Drug Situation” (Ukraine) — as the representative of the Russian Federation asked about whether the group cooperated with its main donor, the International Renaissance Foundation;
Research Society of International Law (Pakistan) — as the representative of India asked about how many people have received the group’s fellowship, how fellows are selected and what benefits they receive;
SOS Urgence (Mauritania) — as the representative of Libya asked about the connectivity of the group’s website;
Sabawon (Pakistan) — as the representative of India asked about the organization’s correct website address and about a project undertaken with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF);
Sensitization Centre (Ghana) — as the representative of India requested details about its relationship and projects with the Government, and for a more recent financial statement;
Shuhada Organization (Afghanistan) — as the representative of Pakistan asked whether its budget deficit has been reduced;
Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation (United States);
SOS EXCLUS pour la protection et l’épanouissement de la famille, de l’enfant et des personnes vulnérables (Mauritania);
Al Najat Charity Society;
World Association for Sexual Health;
Congrès National des Arméniens Occidentaux; and
The Union of Non-governmental Associations “The International Non-governmental Organization” The World Union of Cossack Atamans.
The Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations recommended that the Economic and Social Council grant special consultative status to the following 27 entities:
RASHID International e.V. (Germany);
Afraz Cultural Association (Iran);
Construisons Ensemble Le Monde (Democratic Republic of the Congo);
The Palestinian Consultative Staff for Developing NGOs in Jenin Governorate (State of Palestine);
Association pour l’encadrement des demunis et des désherités (Switzerland);
Migrant Offshore Aid Station Foundation (Malta);
Servicios y Asesoría para la Paz (Mexico);
Association of Professional Social Workers and Development Practitioners (India);
Association pour une jeunesse africaine progressiste (Burundi);
Burundi Rugby League Rugby A Xiii Cooperative (Burundi);
Center for Sex Education and Family Life Ltd/Gte (Nigeria);
Chavara Cultural Centre (India);
China Charity Alliance (China);
Collectif Alpha Ujuvi (Democratic Republic of the Congo);
Community Human Rights and Advocacy Centre (Cameroon);
Envisions Institute of Development (India);
Global Buddhist Foundation (India);
Goringhaicona Khoi Khoin Indigenous Traditional Council (South Africa);
HelpAge India (India);
Human Is Right (Cameroon);
International Association of Justice Watch (Iran);
Jamia Islamiya Umar Faruk Charitable Trust Solapur (India);
Lion Damien Club (South Africa);
Maalkop Trading and Projects (South Africa);
Organisation Attawassoul pour la Santé, la Femme et l’Enfant (Mauritania); and
Srei Foundation (India).