Press Releases

                                                                            NGO/537
                                                                            20 May 2004

    NGO Committee Recommends Consultative Status with Economic and Social Council for Six Organizations, Defers Action on Applications of Six Others

    NEW YORK, 20 May (UN Headquarters) -- During two meetings today, the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) recommended consultative status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) for six NGOs and deferred action on the applications of six others.

    In other action, the Committee recommended reclassification of status for two organizations, and deferred taking note of five quadrennial reports that were deferred from previous sessions.

    The 19-member Committee uses various criteria to recommend general, special or roster status with ECOSOC, including the applicant’s mandate, governance and financial regime.  Organizations that have general and special consultative status can attend meetings of the Council and circulate statements of a certain length.  Those with general status can, in addition, speak at meetings and propose items for the Council’s agenda, while NGOs with roster status can only attend meetings.

    The Committee recommended special consultative status for:

    -- EarthRights International, an international organization based in the United States aiming to promote and protect human rights and the environment, although Cuba’s representative said the organization would be watched closely regarding its position on unilateral actions, including sanctions, contrary to international law and the United Nations Charter, targeted at a sovereign nation;

    -- Centre beninois pour le développement des initiatives à la base, a national organization based in Benin supporting farmers and the empowerment of women;

    -- Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice, an international organization based in the United States dedicated to fostering peace, cultivating justice, and creating a safer world; and

    -- Foundation for the Child and the Family, an international organization based in Greece concerned about the welfare of children and their families, including programmes targeted to peace, well-being, education, health, security and culture.

    Pending issuance of the relevant documents, the Committee recommended ad referendum special consultative status for the following organizations: Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace, an international organization, based in the United States, which tries to promote peace through interreligious dialogue; and Aland Islands Peace Institute, a national organization based in Finland carrying out practical work in the area of conflict management.

    The Committee recommended reclassification from roster to special consultative status for International Youth Hostel Federation, which is engaged in fostering peace and international understanding through its network of youth hostels; and Minority Rights Group International, which works on a broad range of issues regarding minorities and indigenous peoples.

    The Committee deferred action on the applications of the following groups:

    -- International Development Enterprises India, an international organization based in India seeking to assist 150,000 “smallholders” overcome poverty, pending answers to questions asked by Pakistan, including about its position on the status of Kashmir;

    -- Citizen’s Movement for Environmental Justice, a national organization based in the Republic of Korea working for the realization of environmental justice and of a sustainable society, as China’s representative needed instructions from his capital;

    -- Ecumenical Coalition on Third World Tourism, a China-based international organization challenging the negative impact of tourism on society and the environment by empowering vulnerable groups, as China’s representative needed more time to study the organization;

    -- Social Alert, an international organization based in Belgium seeking to defend and promote economic, social and cultural rights by, among other things, creating networks among social, human rights and workers organizations, both from the North and the South, pending answers to questions asked by Cuba’s representative;

    -- Bischoefliches Hilfswerk Misereor, a national organization based in Germany, aiming at promoting development, fighting worldwide poverty, liberating people from injustice, exercising solidarity with the poor and the persecuted and helping to create “one world”, as further clarification was needed on its activities; and

    -- World Assembly of Muslim Youth International, Inc., an international organization based in Saudi Arabia aiming to promote economic and social development, combining normative, analytical and operational activities, as the representative of the United States needed more time to study answers and pose new questions.

    The Committee deferred taking note of the deferred quadrennial report (1994-1997) of the Society for Threatened Peoples, as China’s representative asked for all statements relating to China during the reporting period.  Pakistan’s representative wanted to know more about the illegal sex-workers in his country that were mentioned, as his Government was not aware of their existence.  Sudan’s representative stated that information provided on violence against women in the Sudan was erroneous.

    The Committee also deferred taking note of the deferred quadrennial report (1994-97) of Centrist Democrat International, as answers to previous questions were only provided in Spanish; and the report from International Press Institute, as Cuba’s representative did not find the answers provided satisfactory.  Also, consideration of the report from Transnational Radical Party was deferred until the next session.

    In addition, the Committee deferred taking note of the deferred quadrennial report of the International League for Human Rights, even though that NGO’s representative orally answered questions asked by China’s delegate, who wanted the answers in written form to further study them.

    In previous meetings, the Committee had recommended consultative status for a number of NGOs ad referendum, pending issuance of the relevant documents.  Since some of those documents had been issued today, the Committee removed the ad referendum clause from its recommendations for the following organizations: Congress of Aboriginal Peoples; Dar Al Insan Association; Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief; National Coalition for Haitian Rights; Thailand Environment Institute; Virginia Gildersleeve International Fund; Centre for Human Rights and Peace Advocacy; Confederation of European Paper Industries; Global Fund for Children; and Institute for Traffic Care.

    The Committee members are Cameroon, Chile, China, Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, France, Germany, India, Iran, Peru, Pakistan, Romania, Russian Federation, Senegal, Sudan, Turkey, United States, and Zimbabwe.

    The Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. on Friday, 21 May, to consider special reports.

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