Press Releases

                                                                            18 May 2004

    NGO Committee Recommends Five Organizations for Consultative Status with Economic and Social Council

    Does Not Approve Application of Alliance Viet Nam Liberté, Defers 24 Others

    NEW YORK, 17 May (UN Headquarters) -- During two meetings today, the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) recommended five NGOs for consultative status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), rejected the application for status of one NGO, and deferred 24 others.

    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.

    Turning to applications deferred from previous sessions, the Committee recommended special consultative status for:

    -- Relief International, an international organization based in the United States, which provides emergency relief, rehabilitation and development assistance to vulnerable communities worldwide;

    -- National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, based in the United States, aiming to increase and expand the scope of human rights protection and to increase momentum around the abolition of the death penalty;

    -- Indian Social Institute, a national organization, intended to function as a centre that contributes in a major way to the enhancement of the power of the weaker section of society; and

    -- Morality in Media, a national organization based in the United States, with the purpose of impeding the production, sale and distribution of obscenity, both nationally and worldwide, even though the representatives of Germany and France voiced their continued concern regarding freedom of expression.

    The Committee recommended ad referendum (meaning, a decision could be reversed during the current session) special status for India Vision Foundation, an international organization based in India, working in the areas of education, rehabilitation, promotion of gender equality and empowerment of the underprivileged section of society.

    The Committee decided not to recommend status for Alliance Viet Nam Liberté, an international organization based in France, which sought to disseminate world news and information on human rights in Viet Nam, and defend the “oppressed” in that country. The representative of the observer delegation of Viet Nam informed the Committee that the organization had committed acts of sabotage in her country, and that it had featured on a 1992 United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) list of criminal organizations.

    Also today, the Committee decided to take up consideration of two applications in informal consultations after representatives of the host countries of those NGOs objected to the activities of the organizations.

    The representative of Ghana, another observer delegation, raised objections to Thirty-first December Women’s Movement -- an international organization based in Ghana, which struggles for the abolition of customs, laws and practices that are unfair to women and inimical to their development -- as there had been financial irregularities observed relating to the organization, and the organization was not an NGO, but rather a political organization.

    The representative of another observer delegation, Nigeria, objected to the application of African Hebrew Organization -- an international organization based in Nigeria, aiming to protect the interests of the various African Hebrews and to promote peace in Africa -- as that organization’s character and even its very existence were questionable. Also, the address provided by the organization was not verifiable, he said, and the claim that the NGO had been registered since 1994 could not be verified. Moreover, Nigeria did not have an indigenous Hebrew group.

    Pending an answer to a question regarding the independence of the African Community Resource Center, an international organization based in the United States committed to improving the quality of life in developing countries by providing equal access to resources, information and health interventions, action was deferred.

    The application of Mountain Women Development Organization, a Pakistan-based national organization working to eradicate gender discrimination against women in the northern areas, was also deferred due to objections by India’s delegate regarding the continued use of certain geographical references. Pakistan’s representative, however, remarked that the NGO had complied with United Nations terminology in 2001, as asked, and that further delay was unfair.

    The application of Nonviolence International, an international organization based in the United States seeking to assist individuals, organizations and governments in finding non-violent means to bring about social and political change, was deferred because the representative of China wanted clarification on the NGO’s position regarding the “Tibetan Government in exile”.

    Action on the Association of Expelled Persons, a national organization based in Germany representing the approximately 15 million expelled persons and emigrants of German origin who were or will be received in Germany, was deferred, as more time was needed for bilateral contacts with the NGO.

    Since the Committee wanted clarification on the international or national status of the National Abortion Federation, a United States-based profession association of abortion providers, which provides the most up-to-date continuing education in safe methods of abortion technique and related patient services -- action on the application was also deferred.

    The application of the International Centre for Peace Studies -- an international organization based in India engaged in, among other things, peace education and creating awareness of human rights and refugee issues -- was deferred as Pakistan’s representative asked for documents and reports from that organization, for more financial information, and for usage of the correct geographical terminology in its application.

    The Committee also deferred action on the American Conservative Union, a national organization based in the United States aiming to communicate and advance the goals and principles of conservatism, as the representative of Cuba wanted more clarification regarding the organization’s “multilateral activities” in the field of international treaties, including disarmament treaties. The representatives of Iran and Germany also wanted more clarity regarding the NGO’s activities.

    Action was also deferred on Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, an international organization based in India mandated to bring about the practical realization of human rights in Commonwealth countries, as Pakistan’s representative asked for clarification regarding its name and its activities. The representative of India appealed to Committee members to have a positive outlook and to formulate questions in such a way that an NGO could answer them.

    Pending answers to questions posed by Pakistan’s representative, action was deferred on World Sindhi Institute, an international organization based in the United States seeking to improve awareness of Sindh, Pakistan, worldwide to improve the lives of Sindhis in Pakistan.

    Action on International Crisis Group, an international organization based in Belgium aiming to help governments, international organizations and the world community at large to prevent deadly conflict through high-quality advice and high-level advocacy, was also deferred, pending answers to questions regarding its financial statements and the composition of its board.

    As India’s representative was not satisfied with answers given to questions posed in a previous session, and also wanted more information regarding the NGO’s partnership arrangements with NGOs in India, action on Ambedkar Centre of Justice and Peace, a United-States based international organization, was likewise deferred.

    The Association Internationale de Boxe Educative (International Association of Educational Boxing), an international organization based in France aiming to promote sustainable development initiatives and to implement educational programmes through sport, and particularly through educational boxing, had not responded to questions asked during former sessions.  Action on its application was, therefore, deferred indefinitely.

    A representative of Asian-Eurasian Human Rights Forum, an international organization based in India, answered questions raised by Pakistan’s representative, expressing surprise that the requested publications had not been received as they had been sent last year. Also, the NGO had only learned today that it was requested to give its financial statement in United States dollars. Financial information about its youth exchange programme had not been included in the financial statement, as it was still a project, not a reality, she said.  In selecting countries’ representatives, no criteria were used other than a commitment to human rights.

    Action on that NGO’s application was deferred, pending a written answer to Pakistan’s questions.

    As no reply had been received to questions asked, action on One World International, an international organization based in the United Kingdom aiming to harness the democratic potential of the Internet to promote sustainable development and human rights, was also deferred.

    Pakistan’s representative also asked questions regarding the independence from government of the Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development, a national organization based in India engaging itself in the problems and prospects of development of deprived sections of Indian society. Action was deferred pending answers to those questions.

    Pakistan’s representative also queried the independence of the Indian Federation of United Nations Associations, a national organization based in India aiming to promote the objectives and activities of the United Nations. He was also dissatisfied with the NGO’s answer to a question asked in 2003 regarding its position on Jammu and Kashmir, which was political in nature, and wanted more clarification. India’s representative recalled that in 2003, Pakistan was supposed to have had submitted a new question on the issue, which had not happened. However, she admitted, the tone of the reply was not appropriate and the question should be resent. Thus, action on the application was postponed.

    Action on “Nirdhar” Women and Child Development Organization, a national organization based in India, aimed at improving the situation of women in the field of education and empowering them to be economically self-sufficient, was postponed until later in the session, as the representative of Pakistan needed more time to study the answers provided by the NGO.

    As the World Assembly of Muslim Youth, a United States-based international organization promoting economic and social development, emphasizing the importance of women’s empowerment, had referred to “Kurdistan”, Turkey’s representative asked for a correction.  The representative of the United States wanted clarification on the cooperation the NGO had with other organizations.  Action on the application was deferred.

    Action on the Society for the Promotion of Youth and Masses, a national organization based in India that sought to enable people to maximize their potential and enhance human dignity, was also deferred pending answers to questions asked.

    Action on Conscience africain, an international organization based in Cameroon promoting human rights, peace and free elections in Africa, was postponed to later in the session to give representatives more time to study answers supplied.

    The Committee also deferred action on Maharashtra Foundation, an international organization based in the United States, dedicated to women’s empowerment, education, rural development, watershed management, and sustainable development in Maharashtra, pending written answers to questions asked by Pakistan’s representative. Answering a question from the delegate of Colombia, the NGO’s representative said 95 per cent of funds raised went to projects related to education of women and children in small villages.  Primary healthcare and raising awareness of the importance of preventive medicine was also a focus of the NGO. Another project was to provide one computer per village, so that children could learn about the Internet.

    Pakistan’s representative asked questions about the finances of Mulchand and Parpati Thadhani Foundation, an international organization based in the United States aiming to support the empowerment of women, girl children and other disadvantaged masses. By way of clarification, the NGO’s representative emphasize that a letter of 25 April had provided necessary answers. As to a question about fees the NGO charged for training, she said that had not happened yet, although she anticipated some income from training and consultation in the future.  Action was deferred pending a written answer to the questions asked by Pakistan.

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

    The Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, 18 May, to continue its consideration of deferred applications for consultative status and requests for reclassification.

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