Press Releases

                                                                            19 May 2004

    In Recorded, Roll-Call Vote, NGO Committee Decides Not to Recommend Consultative Status for “International Association Promoting Human Rights”

    Recommends Consultative Status with ECOSOC for Four Organizations, Defers Action on 10 Others

    NEW YORK, 18 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 four NGOs, deferred action on applications for status from 10 other NGOs; and decided, in a recorded roll-call vote, not to recommend consultative status for the International Association Promoting Human Rights.

    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 representative of Cuba requested formally that the Committee not recommend consultative status for International Association Promoting Human Rights, an international organization based in Mexico seeking, through all the lawful means possible, the promotion of human rights in Mexico and throughout the world. Citing many examples, the representative stated that the organization was working to overthrow the constitutional Government of Cuba, and had connections with other organizations, based in Miami, that targeted Cuba with terrorist acts. The organization did not meet with the criteria of ECOSOC resolution 1996/31 and did not comply with the principles of the United Nations Charter, especially with regard to respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of Member States.

    After the representatives of the United States, Germany, France and Romania requested more time to study the matter, Cuba’s representative requested formally that a decision be taken during the meeting. The representative of the United States objected to that proposal.

    Following a procedural debate, during which a senior legal officer from the Office of the Legal Counsel provided advice, the Committee then rejected, in a recorded roll-call vote with 6 members voting in favour (United States, Chile, France, Germany, Peru and Romania), 10 against and 2 abstentions (Turkey and Cameroon), with Côte d’Ivoire absent, a procedural motion to defer until next week action on Cuba’s proposal to recommend not granting consultative status to the organization. The representatives of Germany and the United States spoke in favour of the motion, while China’s representative spoke in opposition.

    The Committee then took up Cuba’s proposal to recommend not granting status to the NGO. In a general statement before the recorded vote on that proposal, Cuba’s representative asked Committee members to vote in favour, as the organization, through provided information and responses to questions, had shown it was lying, and was politically motivated against his country. The representative of France, supported by representatives of Germany and Romania, said new information had been provided in Spanish. There was no time to digest the information or to get instructions from the capital. He would, therefore, abstain. The representative of the United States expressed regret at the turn of events.

    In a recorded roll-call vote of 12 Committee members voting in favour, 1 against (United States), and 5 abstentions (Peru, Romania, Chile, France and Germany), with Côte d’Ivoire absent, the Committee then decided to recommend to the ECOSOC not to grant consultative status to International Association Promoting Human Rights.

    The Committee recommended special consultative status for:

    -- People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy, an international organization based in the Republic of Korea, aiming to monitor government, the judiciary and business to prevent power abuse, corruption and injustice;

    -- World Vision Canada, a national humanitarian-aid organization based in Canada aiming for lasting solutions through relief, development and advocacy initiatives;

    -- Center for Victims of Torture, an international organization based in the United States, working locally, nationally and internationally to heal the wounds of torture in individuals, their families and their communities, and to stop the practice of torture; and

    -- Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child, a national organization based in Pakistan, which, according to its application, is the leading NGO working in the area of child rights.

    Action on Pasumai Thaayagam Foundation (Green Motherland), a national organization based in India, which works to conserve “the glory of nature and its greenery and gaiety”, was deferred pending answers to questions raised by the representative of Pakistan relating to the organization’s cooperation with the Government and its finances.

    The application from the International Organization of Science Parks, an international organization based in Spain, working to maintain and coordinate a worldwide network of professionals in the “management of science and technology parks and business incubators”, was also deferred, as in its application and provided information, the organization had made references to “Taiwan” as a country and China’s representative asked for clarification in that regard.

    The Committee deferred action until later this session on Advocates for Youth, an international organization based in the United States, dedicated to help young people make informed and responsible decision about their reproductive and sexual health, as more clarification was sought on the organization’s funding and activities, as well as on its status as a national or international organization.

    Action was likewise deferred on Australian Reproductive Health Alliance, a national organization based in Australia, promoting national and international public support for the improvement in the well-being and status of women and the development of reproductive health in families and individuals, as representatives of the Sudan and Iran wanted more information about the organization’s activities. Representatives of France, Turkey, United States, Germany, Peru and Romania, however, urged the committee to decide as soon as possible, as the NGO could contribute to the diversity of discussions within the United Nations on controversial topics.

    Pending an answer to questions asked, the application of International Justice Mission, an international organization based in the United States, which wants to provide intervention to those suffering injustice and oppression who cannot rely on local authorities for relief, was deferred.

    Action was also deferred on China Care and Compassion Society, a national organization based in China, aiming, among other things, to care for the physical and mental health of individuals and protecting the rights of disadvantaged people, as the representative of the United States posed additional questions, including about its characterization of “evil cults”, and the representatives of Germany and Chile needed to consult with their capitals.  China’s representative, however, objected that the questions already had been asked and answered.

    The Committee delayed action to a later date on Stree Atyachar Virodhi Parishad, Nagpur, a national grass-roots women’s organization based in India, aiming to bring awareness to rural women and motivate them to fight against atrocities, inequality and social injustice, as the representative of Pakistan wanted to ask additional questions.

    The application from Swedish NGO Foundation for Human Rights, a national organization supporting work for human rights, was deferred because Cuba’s representative asked for clarification regarding its activities in developing countries and its cooperation with governments.

    The application from Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage, a national organization based in India dedicated to the preservation of the cultural and natural heritage of India, was also deferred because Pakistan’s representative asked about its relationship with the Government and the military.  France’s representative pointed out that such a relationship was logical, as many cultural sites were close to military installations. India’s representative expressed disappointment that yet new questions were asked of such a well-known and important organization.

    Action on Catholic Organization for Relief and Development Aid, an international organization based in the Netherlands, with the purpose of alleviating poverty through direct aid, civil society building and lobbying and advocacy, was deferred pending answer to questions posed by the representatives of Cuba and Turkey.

    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 Wednesday, 19 May, to continue its consideration of new applications for consultative status and requests for reclassification.

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