The Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations recommended 8 entities for special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council and deferred action on the status of 17 others, as it continued its resumed 2021 session today.

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 were 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 some applications was postponed pending responses to Committee members’ questions on matters related to the organizations’ activities, partners, expenditures and sources of funding, among other matters.

Also today, the Committee recommended that the Economic and Social Council suspend the consultative status of 219 organizations, reinstate that of 235 organizations and withdraw that of 326 organizations, pursuant to Council resolution 2008/4.

The Committee also took note of 7 name change requests:  Canterbury Business Association Incorporated (Special, 2015) to Canterbury & New Zealand Business Association Incorporated; Foundation for Preventing Youth Violence, The (FPYV) (Special, 2009) to The Blue Tree Foundation; Foundation for the Child and the Family (Special, 2004) to Marianna V. Vardinoyannis Foundation; Gain International (Special, 2016) to Unto, Inc.; Hope for Education (Special, 2017) to Campus Watch; Observatoire International pour la Non Violence — Communes des Nations pour la Paix (Special,2014) to Observatoire International — communes des nations pour la paix pour le développement en commun des communes pour la non-violence section anti-terroriste; and UNESCO Centre of Catalonia (Special, 2007) to Associació CATESCO (Catalonia for Education, Science and Culture Organization).

The Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations will meet again at 10 a.m. on Thursday, 9 September, to continue its session.

Quadrennial Reports

The Committee took note of the following deferred quadrennial reports submitted by non-governmental organizations in consultative status with the Council:

Institute of Noahide Code 2015-2018; International Alliance of Patients’ Organizations 2014-2017; International Federation of ACAT (Action by Christians for the Abolition of Torture) 2015-2018; International Press Institute 2013-2016; Jammu and Kashmir Council for Human Rights (JKCHR) 2013-2016; L’observatoire mauritanien des droits de l’homme et de la démocratie 2015-2018; Medecins sans frontières (International) 2012-2015; Medico International 2014-2017; Redress Trust 2011-2014; Society for Development and Community Empowerment 2015-2018; and Temple of Understanding 2011-2014.

Exceptions included:  International Bar Association 2015-2018 — as China’s delegate sought information about a specific project, and about whether the group had carried out activities with United Nations bodies, other than the one referenced;

International Religious Liberty Association 2015-2018 — as China’s representative asked about the sources of financing for its television broadcast and associated costs;

International Service for Human Rights 2011-2014 — as Cuba’s representative requested information about the group’s strategic litigation work;

International Service for Human Rights 2015-2018 — as China’s delegate, citing the group’s work with the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, sought a list of the consultations mentioned in the report;

People for Successful Corean Reunification 2016-2019 — as China’s representative requested details on its inter-Korean cooperation activities;

Reporters Sans Frontiers International – Reporters Without Borders International 2013–2016 — as Cuba’s delegate asked why the group paid so little attention to human rights situations in developed countries, and so much to the situations in developing countries;

Society for Threatened Peoples 2013-2016 — as China’s delegate asked about its contribution to the meetings of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs;

UPR Info 2016-2019 — as Cuba’s representative requested a list of countries to which the organization has provided technical support;

Union Internationale des Avocats – International Union of Lawyers 2015‑2018 — as China’s delegate asked for details about the group’s contributions to two sessions of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC);

Requests for Special Consultative Status

The Committee recommended special consultative status to the following organizations:

China Chamber of International Commerce (China);

El Hak Foundation for Freedom of Expression and Human Rights (Egypt);

Iranian Anti-Tobacco Association (Iran);

Judicial Administrative Drug Rehabilitation Association of China (China);

Shaanxi Patriotic Volunteer Association (China);

World Eco-Design Conference (China);

Association des 3 hérissons (France); and

Fundación Sonrisas de Bombay (Spain).

The Committee postponed consideration of the following organizations’ requests for special consultative status:

“Armenian Women for Health and Healthy Environment” NGO (Armenia) — as Turkey’s delegate required a clarification;

Adharshila (India) — as Pakistan’s delegate asked for details on projects for reducing inequality over the last five years;

Association de la femme saharienne pour le développment intégré — as Nicaragua’s delegate asked how it continues to be a national organization when it has branches abroad;

Association de l’Alliance Nationale des Chourafa Naciryiene et leurs cousins, chargés des affaires de la Zaouia Naciria (Morocco) — as Cuba’s delegate asked for updated information about its membership;

Forum for Human Rights Dialogue (Egypt) — as Turkey’s representative, noting that the group’s entire income was used on a project titled “What we need from the New Constitution”, requested more information about the activity;

Fundación Venezolana por el Derecho a la Vivienda (Venezuela) — as China’s representative, citing the response to question 5, asked for an update on the project titled “Promotion of Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development”;

Gender & Empowerment Organization (Pakistan) — as Pakistan’s delegate requested further information about its activities;

Human Rights Protection Group and MFP Federation (India) — as Pakistan’s representative asked for details on projects undertaken for Sustainable Development Goal 7 on affordable, clean energy;

Kolkata Society for Cultural Heritage (India) — as Pakistan’s delegate requested details on research work;

Lanka Fundamental Rights Organization (Sri Lanka) — as China’s representative asked about criteria for membership, as the group states that only those who endorse its goals are eligible;

Mumbai Smiles Foundation (India) — as Pakistan’s delegate asked the group to share its funding information;

ONG L’Ange Gardien (Benin) — as Pakistan’s delegate asked about the group’s participation in a 2019 conference and about funding source for its involvement;

Peaceland Foundation (China) — as Estonia’s delegate sought financial information about the group, including any grants from Governments;

Protection for Legal & Human Rights Foundation (Bangladesh) — as India’s delegate noted that the group states that it has 19,000 members and is active in 1,000 countries, which he said cannot be correct.  He asked for a list of its members, a correct number of the countries in which it is active and a list of activities in countries outside of its country of registration;

Youth for Human Rights Pakistan (Pakistan) — as Pakistan’s delegate asked for funding details and specify which of partners is active in his country;

ARCS Arci Culture Solidali APS (Italy) — as Turkey’s representative asked for information on its geographical focus in Europe, as well as general information on the activities it carries out;

Comité de Vigilance pour la Démocratie en Tunisie (Belgium) — as Bahrain’s representative requested 2019 and 2020 financial statements

The Committee then considered the compilation of responses to questions previously posed to several organizations, with Sudan’s representative recalling her delegation’s request, submitted during the regular session, that the Committee withdraw the consultative status of nine non-governmental organizations operating in her country.  The request was based on information about the financial misconduct of these groups and their non-compliance with resolution 1996/31, which outlines the process for organizations to obtain and maintain their consultative status.

Following a lengthy debate involving the representatives of Mexico, United States, Estonia, Pakistan, Cuba, Russian Federation, China and Turkey — over the legal, procedural and moral criteria for withdrawing the accreditation of an organization with the Economic and Social Council — the Committee postponed a decision on Sudan’s request until 10 September.

Interactive Discussion

The Committee then held a question-and-answer session with the Brussels International Center for Research and Human Rights (Belgium), with a representative from that organization describing the group as “a think and do tank” that provides solutions to economic fragility and conflict, primarily in the Middle East and North Africa.  Explaining that it leverages qualitative and quantitative data to offer analyses to policymakers, he said the Brussels International Center for Research and Human Rights is led by a former diplomat who served as the Special Representative for the Middle East Peace Process.

He said a main objective of the group is to advance the Sustainable Development Goals, notably Goal 1 on no poverty, Goal 5 on gender equality, Goal 10 on reduced inequalities and Goal 16 on peace, justice and strong institutions, through high-level dialogues with Governments, civil society organizations, academics and others.  “We focus on solutions, challenging biases and tackling topics that often go overlooked,” he said.  Concerning its affiliation with Ukraine’s Embassy in Belgium, he said the Ambassador of Ukraine spoke at an event in March 2019, after which the organization had no affiliation with the Embassy.  “We are strictly non-governmental,” he explained.

The representative of the Russian Federation, thanking the representative for an exhaustive account of his organization, asked for clarification on how many of its members formerly held Government positions, to which the representative replied that the current head of Brussels International Center for Research and Human Rights is a former ambassador, whose last post was from 2003 to 2011.  He currently has no ties with any Government.  “He is fully independent and impartial,” the speaker said, adding that there are no other employees in senior management or on the executive team that are part of a Government.  There is an independent adviser who is affiliated with Belgium’s Government.

The representative of the Russian Federation asked about the scope of a specific memorandum of understanding, to which the representative replied that, generally, memoranda of understanding include goals and objectives that the organization would like to accomplish jointly.  Most of those with universities extend indefinitely, depending on all partners involved.

The representative of the Russian Federation asked for a more precise answer that includes financial aspects, to which representative replied that memoranda of understanding often include a projection of costs that the organization would like to share.

The representative of the Russian Federation then requested a written response to a question about the organizations with which the Brussels International Center has signed memoranda of understanding that involve a shared financial burden for projects.  The speaker from the Center cited memoranda signed with the International Treaties and Studies Group and Impact Media.

The representative of the United States then asked her counterpart from the Russian Federation to submit his delegation’s question in writing, which would offer clarity on what precise information is being requested.

The representative of the Russian Federation clarified that his question pertains to the financial aspects needed to understand the organization’s financial picture, as well as the projects carried out on the basis of co‑financing agreements.

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