The Working Group and Civil Society
A vital part of the Palestinian Rights Committee’s work is outreach to civil society. The UN General Assembly has mandated the Committee to “extend its cooperation and support to Palestinian and other civil society organizations” (CSOs) in the interests of mobilizing “international solidarity and support for the Palestinian people”. The Working Group of the Committee was re-established in 2013 to further this objective.
All members and observers of the Committee are represented on the Working Group which is chaired by Malta. As its official terms of reference explain, the revived Working Group’s role is to “harness the potential offered by CSOs to promote the exercise by the Palestinian people of its inalienable rights”. A network of some 1,000 CSOs from across the world has been established, including advocacy groups, humanitarian organisations, faith-based groups, charities, women’s groups and academic or research institutions.
CSOs can submit an application for accreditation with the Committee. The Working Group receives and assesses these applications. Accredited CSOs must fulfil three criteria: a) be a recognized non-profit organization; b) support the Charter of the United Nations, international law and the achievement of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people; and c) have, or have serious intent to establish, concrete programmes in support of the achievement of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people. CSOs which feel they cannot subscribe to the accreditation criteria can apply for observer status.
The Working Group provides accredited and observer CSOs with a platform to engage with the diplomatic community, network with other CSOs and inform and influence global public opinion. The Working Group organises periodic briefings by CSOs at the UN. Accredited CSOs are invited to participate in the regular international meetings and conferences organized by the Palestinian Rights Committee.