17 May 2005
Non-Governmental Organization Committee Recommends 20 Organizations for Consultative Status with Economic and Social Council
NEW YORK, 16 May (UN Headquarters) -- The Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations today recommended 20 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) for consultative status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and deferred 10 applications. It also approved 32 requests for hearings at the High-level Segment of the 2005 substantive session of the Council.
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:
-- National Community Reinvestment Coalition, Inc., a national organization based in the United States, promoting better and fairer access to credit, capital and financial services;
-- Organization du renouveau de la prise de conscience féminine, a Morocco-based national organization that wants, among other things, to raise women’s awareness of rights and obligations;
-- Osservatorio per la communicazione culturale e l’audiovisivo nel mediterraneo a nel mondo, an international organization based in Italy, working in the field of information and communication technologies for development;
-- Indian Federation of United Nations Associations, a national, Indian-based organization that aims to promote the objectives and activities of the United Nations;
-- Crime Stoppers International, Inc., an international, United States-based organization, striving to create an environment where citizens could anonymously offer information about crime;
-- Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, an international organization based in New Delhi; and
-- Centre for Inquiry, International, an international organization based in the United States, which works to advance the cause of reason, science and free inquiry in all fields of human endeavour and develop rational ethical alternatives.
Roster status was recommended for Young Women’s Christian Association of Nigeria (YWCA), which aims to unite members in groups for fellowship, service and activities which promote their spiritual, mental, social and physical welfare.
The Committee deferred applications from:
-- International Society of Addiction Medicine, an international organization with headquarters in Canada that educates and trains professional at the local level to combat drug addictions and intravenous drug use, as Cuba asked about the organization’s work with Cuban authorities;
-- Cultural Survival, an international organization with headquarters in the United States, which promotes the rights, voices and visions of indigenous peoples, as the representative of China asked a question regarding an “office in Tibet”;
--Action internationale pour la paix et le développement dans la region des Grands Lacs, an international organization based in Switzerland that wants to break the many cycles of violence in the Great Lakes region of Africa, as representatives needed more time to study answers given;
-- World Sindhi Institute (WSI), an international organization based in the United States, aiming to elevate awareness of Sindh, Pakistan, worldwide in order to improve the lives of Sindhis in Pakistan, on Pakistan’s request for further talks;
-- Angel Foundation, an international organization based in the United States that helps children worldwide, especially in emergency situations, at the request of India;
-- Society for the Promotion of Youth and Masses, an India-based organization that wants to enhance human dignity by providing quality services within available resources, pending review of the application by Pakistan;
-- Social Action Forum for Manav Adhikar, an Indian national organization working for the protection and promotion of human rights enshrined in India’s Constitution, as Pakistan’s representative needed more time to study answers provided;
-- General Union, a national organization from Japan which aims at providing all workers with an organization that protects their workers’ rights, as the representative from China asked whether a trade union could be a NGO; and
-- Fazaldad Human Rights Institute, a national organization based in Pakistan, which wants to eliminate human rights abuse and to promote education on the field of human rights, as India’s representative requested more time to consider the application.
The Committee decided to return to the application of Asian-Eurasian Human Rights Forum -- an international organization headquartered in India that tries to identify obstacles to the promotion and protection of human rights -- later in the session, after consultations. The representative of Pakistan stated that the application should be rejected, as the organization had made political statements, including mentioning “Federating States of Jammu and Kashmir”, had accused Pakistan and Saudi Arabia of sponsoring “jihadism and terrorism”, and had equated the word “Jihad” with terrorism. In general, he said, the NGO had answered questions by skirting facts and being ambiguous. He proposed that the Committee reject the application.
The NGO’s representative answered that his organization did not engage in politics, but was concerned with the internally displaced persons from the region. In 1947, India had been partitioned on the basis of religion. As a consequence, millions of people had been killed and forced out of their homes, which had affected the whole subcontinent. That had been well recorded. His organization, however, was not “doing history”, but was solely concerned with what happened with people who came to the organization for help, namely, the internally displaced persons. The organization held all religions in the highest esteem, but had problems with a small handful of people who tried to politicize religion and, in the process, caused human rights issues in India. The NGO had been working from 1996 in accordance with the principles of ECOSOC and the Charter of the United Nations.
India’s representative, however, said that if NGOs were asked political questions, the answers would be of a political nature, as well. She did not see that as an accusation against the Government of Pakistan in the organization’s response, but rather against small radical groups. That fact had been internationally acknowledged. The answers provided did not warrant rejection of the application.
The Committee also considered applications submitted under ECOSOC decision 2004/212, whereby applications from organizations that had been accredited to the World Summit on Sustainable Development and wished to participate in future sessions of the Commission on Sustainable Development should be considered as expeditiously as possible. In that category, it recommended special consultative status for:
-- Fridtjof Nansen Institute, a national organization from Norway engaged in research on international environmental, energy and resource management politics;
-- WaterAid, an international organization headquartered in the United Kingdom, dedicated to the provision of safe domestic water, sanitation and hygiene education to the world’s poorest people;
-- Women Environmental Programme, a national organization from Nigeria, dedicated to the protection of the environmental, economic, social and political rights of women and children;
-- Global Resource Action Center for the Environment, an international organization based in the United States, concerned with raising awareness and promote solutions to preserve the planet for future generations;
-- National Council of Swedish Youth Organizations, constituting a form for matters of common interest in youth organizations;
-- Peace Worldwide, an international organization based in Pakistan, which aims, among other things, at safeguarding dignity and human rights;
-- Youth Association for Habitat and Agenda 21, a national organization from Turkey, dedicated to realizing the principles and outcomes of the various Habitat conferences and Agenda 21, adopted during the 1992 Rio Environment and Development Summit;
-- Mediterranean Information Office for Environment, Culture and Sustainable Development, an international organization based in Greece that wants to protect the natural environment and the cultural heritage of the Mediterranean region; and
-- World Water Council, an international organization based in Europe, dedicated to strengthening the world water movement for an improved management of the world’s water resources.
Roster status was recommended for:
-- Social Aid of Hellas, a Greece-based international organization that wants to provide moral, educational and material assistance to Third Age People and persons living in social seclusion;
-- Youth Enhancement Organization, a national organization based in Nigeria, aiming to fill youth with a sense of hope, self-confidence, imagination, creativity and pride in the nation’s heritage; and
-- Nurses Across the Borders; a national organization in Nigeria, dedicated to reducing the mortality rate of disasters in the community.
The Committee approved requests for hearings at the High-level Segment of the 2005 substantive session of ECOSOC by 32 NGOs or coalitions of NGOs in consultative status with the Council. It did not approve representation of a report to that High-level Segment on the September 2004 DPI/NGO Conference entitled “Millennium Development Goals: Civil Society takes action”, as delegates did not think it was within the Committee’s mandate to rule on such reports.
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., Tuesday, 17 May, when it will continue its resumed session with a focus on strengthening the Secretariat’s NGO Section.
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