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NGO/933
20 May 2022
7th & 8th Meetings (AM & PM)

Continuing Session, Non-Governmental Organizations Committee Recommends 4 Groups for Special Consultative Status, Defers Action on 112 Others

The Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations continued its 2022 session today, recommending four entities for special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council and deferring action on 112 others.

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 several applications was postponed because Committee members requested further information from the candidates about, among other items, details of their organizations’ activities, partners, expenditures and sources of funding.

The Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations will meet again at 10 a.m. on Monday, 23 May, to continue its session.

Special Consultative Status

The Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations recommended that the Economic and Social Council grant special consultative status to the following entities:

South Asian Legal Clinic (Ontario) (Canada);

Students for Sensible Drug Policy Australia Inc. (Australia);

Treatment Action Group (United States); and

Women’s Entrepreneurship Day Organization, Inc. (United States).

The Committee postponed action on the application of the following 112 organizations:

Russian Union of Journalists (Russian Federation) — as Estonia’s representative asked about the type of activities the organization undertakes for protecting the free expression of journalists, as well as the freedom of media and the press in the Russian Federation;

RüstungsInformationsBüro e.V. (Germany) — as Turkey’s representative asked the organization to elaborate on its work, including on its publications and the library it supports;

Secours Islamique France (France) — as Pakistan’s representative asked the organization where its literacy workshops were held and about the costs incurred;

Sheikh Abdullah Al Nouri Charity Society (Kuwait) — as Israel’s representative requested information about one of its medical projects;

Social Progress Imperative, Inc. (United States) — as Cuba’s representative asked whether the resources received are tied to specific projects and about projects in the Caribbean;

Solidarity for Peace and Reunification of Korea (Republic of Korea) — as Cuba’s representative asked for a breakdown on administrative spending;

SosyalBen Vakfı (Turkey) — as Greece’s representative asked for more information about the 98 per cent of expenditures related to general management, and the 2 per cent on goal-related activities;

Stitching Impunity Watch (Netherlands) — as the Russian Federation’s representative inquired about its projects in Syria, notably related to costs, locations and partner organizations;

Su Politikaları Derneği (Turkey) — as Greece’s representative requested information related to its advisory services;

Tai Studies Center (United States) — as the Russian Federation’s representative inquired about its accredited status in attending an event organized by the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues;

The American India Foundation (United States) — as China’s representative asked whether any of its member organizations has Economic and Social Council consultative status;

The Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation (United States) — as Turkey’s representative asked about funding received from Governments, broken down by amounts and donors, with sufficient detail on how the funds were used;

The Bar Human Rights Committee (United Kingdom) — as Bahrain’s representative asked about the group’s training for the development of human rights protections, carried out between 2020 and 2022, including any future activities for 2022, along with a list of its partners, sponsors and other information;

The Center for Justice and Accountability (United States) — as India’s representative asked about activities carried out in 2021 in the 17 countries where it works, along with the sources of funding;

The Global Energy Association on Development of International Research and Projects in the Field of Energy (Russian Federation) — as Estonia’s representative inquired about its nomination process and candidacy criteria, and the representative of the United States requested a breakdown of expenses related to an award ceremony, along with a list of recipients;

The Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime (Switzerland) — as Turkey’s representative asked about the screening and selection process for the group’s pool of experts;

Tom Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice (United States) — as India’s representative requested a list of the countries in which they work, along with project details and funding sources;

Transitional Justice Working Group (Republic of Korea) — as Cuba’s representative requested a breakdown of donors, amounts and information on whether the resources received are tied to specific projects;

Turkish Marine Research Foundation (TUDAV) (Turkey) — as Greece’s representative requested a list of its common activities with partners in the Black Sea;

Türk Kadınlar Birliği Derneği (Turkey) — as Greece’s representative inquired about the most recent budget for its chapters;

Türkiye Gençlik Vakfi (Tügva) (Turkey) — as Greece’s representative requested detailed information about its representatives in European countries;

Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Human Rights (United States) — as the Russian Federation’s representative, noting that the entity refused to provide information on its partner organizations in the Russian Federation, requested the group to indeed provide that information.  The representative of the United States requested the Secretariat to verify that the organization had not provided a list of its partners, to which the Secretariat official replied that the organization stated that there is no list and that the names of its partners are confidential.  The representative of the United States, acknowledging that many organizations must work through confidential means to carry out their work, considered the question answered in a valid manner and asked her counterpart from the Russian Federation to perhaps ask another question as the former has been answered; and as China’s representative requested a breakdown of its administrative expenditures;

War Child (United Kingdom) — as Nicaragua’s representative raised a question about how the organization carries out its work;

Wikimedia Foundation Inc. (United States) — as China’s representative asked about its independent volunteer members and whether it established such partnerships with Governments of Asian countries;

World Without Genocide (United States) — as China’s representative inquired about the group’s “students chapters” project and how the schools are chosen;

Österreichischer Rat Für Nachhaltige Entwicklung — Österreichischer Nachhaltigkeitsrat für soziale, ökologische und ökonomische Angelegenheiten (Austria) — as Greece’s representative asked about the organization’s working methods, notably related to its ad hoc missions;

Armenian Women for Health and Healthy Environment” (Armenia) — as Turkey’s representative asked about a discrepancy in the number of its members;

Mission Armenia” Charitable Non-governmental Organization (Armenia) — as Turkey’s representative requested information about the structure, function and authority of its branches, as related to its overall work.  Armenia’s representative objected to the unjustified deferrals of all three organizations from his country, by one delegation, noting that these organizations have already been deferred.  The pattern is so transparent it leaves no doubt that the questions posed in no way reflect a genuine interest in the organizations.  He rejected such discriminatory questioning, noting that it affects the Committee’s relevance.  He stressed the importance of impartiality and objectivity in the application process, free from any hidden agendas.  Turkey’s representative underlined that his country strongly supports the participation of all organizations in the work of the United Nations.  It pursues an impartial approach in evaluating applications, in line with resolution 1996/31, he said, noting that various Armenian organizations have been recommended for status in recent years;

Arab Media Union (Egypt) — as Bahrain’s representative requested details on the group’s sponsors and their relationship with the organization;

Asia Pacific Transgender Network (Thailand) — as the Russian Federation’s representative asked about the organizations that receive funding from the group;

Associación Red de Mujeres Afrolatinoamericanas, Afrocaribeñas y de la Diáspora (Nicaragua) — as China’s representative asked about its “cooperators” and about the financial resources it receives from related projects;

Associação Nacional de Juristas Evangélicos – ANAJURE (Brazil) — as Cuba’s representative asked whether its membership is open to people of various nationalities;

Aurat Publication and Information Service Foundation Lahore (Pakistan) — as Pakistan’s representative requested a financial breakdown and asked whether the organization is involved in any trade activities;

Baghbaan (Pakistan) — as India’s representative asked about its activities in the Horn of Africa;

Charity Organization “International Charity Foundation “Global Ukraine” (Ukraine) — as Nicaragua’s representative requested a list of projects carried out during 2020-2021;

China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation (China) — as the Russian Federation’s representative requested information about a certain aspect of its work;

RA - LGBTI Equal Rights Association (Serbia) — as the Russian Federation’s representative requested more information about projects carried out with Governments, especially related to the costs involved;

Engineering Association for Development and Environment (Iraq) — as Turkey’s representative asked whether the organization has representatives — or registered branches or offices — in third countries, and about any related work carried out;

Habilian Association (Iran) — as the representative of the United States inquired about data on the number of victims of terrorism who received support from the organization in recent years;

Imam Khomeini Relief Foundation (Iran) — as the representative of the United States, referring to the organization’s statement that it “creates marriage opportunities for youth”, inquired about how these opportunities are created and about the kind of financial assistance that has been given to youth;

International Anti Terrorism Movement (India) — as Nicaragua’s representative, noting that the group describes itself as a national organization, yet has the support of an international network and works in more than 100 countries, requested details on its cooperation with Middle Eastern countries;

International Human Right Organization (Pakistan) — as Pakistan’s representative requested information about one of its projects;

Lanka Fundamental Rights Organization (Sri Lanka) — as China’s representative asked whether the group cooperates with or received support from other organizations in Sri Lanka;

Mwatana Organization for Human Rights (Yemen) — as Bahrain’s representative asked how it has benefitted from its relationship with another entity in achieving its stated goals;

National Human Rights Civic Association “Belarusian Helsinki Committee” (Belarus) — as the Russian Federation’s representative asked for examples of its work in the area of sustainable development;

Noble World Records (India) — as India’s representative requested details about its organizational members and the joint activities undertaken over the last two years;

Non-Governmental Organization “Association of Wives and Mothers of Soldiers Participating in Ato” (Ukraine) — as China’s representative asked about its cooperation with the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women);

Palestinian Association for Human Rights (Witness) (Lebanon) — as Israel’s representative requested a list of partners and projects undertaken;

Solidariteit/Solidarity (South Africa) — as India’s representative requested information about the nature of its relationship and activities undertaken with its affiliated organizations;

The Gulmit Educational and Social Welfare Society, Hunza Gilgit (Pakistan) — as Pakistan’s representative asked the organization to address a financial discrepancy related to its projects;

The Union of Non-governmental Associations “The International Non-governmental Organization “The World Union of Cossack Atamans” (Kazakhstan) — as the Russian Federation’s representative asked the group to provide financial statements for 2020, 2021 and 2022;

Youth for Human Rights Pakistan (Pakistan) — as Pakistan’s representative requested details on the training and materiel provided to its volunteers;

ALQST Human Rights (United Kingdom) — as Pakistan’s representative asked the organization to explain a discrepancy in the number of its members;

ASOCIACION ENRAIZADOS EN CRISTO Y EN LA SOCIEDAD (Spain) — as Cuba’s representative asked about the countries where the organization has volunteers or is implementing projects;

Allianz für Demokratie in Laos (ADL) e.V. (Germany) — as China’s representative requested the organization to provide a financial statement;

American Center for International Labor Solidarity (United States) — as China’s representative requested a breakdown of the resources allocated to each project;

American Medical Women’s Association, Inc. (United States) — as China’s representative asked whether the organization has carried out any initiatives or projects abroad;

American Sociological Assn. (United States) — as China’s representative asked the organization about the percentage of its members serving in Government bodies;

Associazione European Federation for Freedom of Belief (Italy) — as the Russian Federation’s representative asked for a full list of organizations that provide financial support to the group;

Associazione Luca Coscioni per la libertà di ricerca scientifica (Italy) — as Nicaragua’s representative inquired about the types of members and whether the amount of contributions has an impact on membership status;

Assyrian Aid Society of America Inc. (United States) — as Turkey’s representative asked how its board members are designated or elected;

Assyrian Documentation Centre (United States) — as Turkey’s representative requested further details on its structure and the names and titles of members of executive bodies and about the process by which they are elected or nominated;

Avaaz Foundation (United States) — as Bahrain’s representative enquired about how the organization carries out its work in other countries and ensures it is not in breach of laws in those countries;

Bahrain Center for Human Rights (Denmark) — as Cuba’s representative enquired about its work with Federation Internationale des Droits de l’Homme, among other organizations;

C.A.R.E Scandinavia — Citizens Against Radicalism & Extremism (Denmark) — as Israel’s representative asked how the organization considers itself Danish when so many of its members are in Jordan;

Ceasefire Centre for Civilian Rights (United Kingdom) — as the Russian Federation’s representative asked about the definition of “monitoring” the situation in Syria and about how it verifies the data obtained, if it does not have a presence in the country;

Christian Solidarity International (CSI) (Switzerland) — as Cuba’s representative requested details about its donations;

Comité de Vigilance pour la Démocratie en Tunisie (Belgium) — as Turkey’s representative asked about the nature, duration, scope and funding for one of its projects;

Common Good Foundation Inc. (United States) — as China’s representative enquired about how the organization recruits its experts to carry out its studies, and about methods to ensure the reliability of its reports;

Coptic Solidarity (United States) — as China’s representative wondered about the term for advisory board members;

Diakonia (Sweden) — as Pakistan’s representative requested a financial statement for 2021;

Disability:IN (United States) — as China’s representative requested information on the Government with which it collaborates;

Emberi Méltóság Központ (Hungary) — as Mexico’s representative requested clarification about its individual donations, as well as about where the public entities appear in its financial statements;

Eurazijos žalos mažinimo asociacija (Lithuania) — as the Russian Federation’s representative enquired about its projects in the Russian Federation and its partner organizations;

Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor (Switzerland) — as Israel’s representative enquired about its data collection methods for the reports it issues on various conflict zones;

European Foundation for South Asian Studies (Netherlands) — as China’s representative asked whether it cooperates with Governments or non-governmental organizations in Asia;

European Interreligious Forum for Religious Freedom (France) — as China’s representative asked whether it participated in any United Nations conferences in the last two years;

Fundació Josep Irla (Spain) — as Israel’s representative requested financial statements for 2020 and 2021;

Fundacja Otwarty Dialog (Poland) — as Nicaragua’s representative enquired about its cooperation with unofficial groups;

Global Doctors for Choice, LLC (United States) — as China’s representative requested that the organization correct the terminology on its website to “Taiwan, province of China” and “Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China”;

Gulf Centre for Human Rights Limited (Ireland) — as China’s representative requested information about its Beirut office;

Hellenic Institute of Cultural Diplomacy — Non-profit Civil Association (Greece) — as Turkey’s representative enquired about the discrepancy in the number of its members;

Hokok Coalición Internacional Contra la Impunidad (Spain) — as Bahrain’s representative asked the organization to clarify the activities it carries out to fund itself and clarify the term, “other income”;

Human Concern International (Canada) — as Israel’s representative raised a question about the difference between its income and expenditures;

Human Rights at Sea (United Kingdom) — as China’s representative requested information on its assistance to abandoned sea farers;

Humanium (Switzerland) — as Cuba’s representative requested information about the aim and impact of projects carried out in the countries in which it is active;

IFEX (Canada) — as India’s representative requested details about ongoing engagements with United Nations entities, as well as about the activities carried out in the 65 countries over the last two years;

INPUD Limited (United Kingdom) — as the representative of the Russian Federation asked for a list of all projects carried out with the Open Society Initiative;

Ilankai Thamil Sangam, Inc. (United States) — as Pakistan’s representative requested an audited financial report for 2021;

Inimõiguste Instituut (Estonia) — as the Russian Federation’s representative asked for a breakdown of its procurement activities in third countries;

Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (United States) — as China’s representative requested an update on activities carried out in 2020 and 2021;

International Action Network for Gender Equity and Law (United States) — as China’s representative asked about its informal consultations at meetings of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) and UN-Women;

International Civil Society Action Network, Inc. (United States) — as Cuba’s representative asked the organization about its $240,000 deficit;

International Dalit Solidarity Network (Denmark) — as India’s representative requested clarity on the organization’s address and to provide an audited financial statement for 2021;

International Human Rights Commission La Commission Internationale des Droits de l’homme Mezinárodní komise pro lidská práva - nadační fond, ve zkrácené formě IHRC - nadační fond (Czech Republic) — as Estonia’s representative requested clarity on where the group is registered, as there is a discrepancy, and whether it is a non-governmental organization or an intergovernmental organization;

International Legal Assistance Consortium (Sweden) — as Israel’s representative requested details on the activities and budgets of its “unnamed projects”;

Interregional non-governmental human rights organization “Man and Law” (Russian Federation) — as China’s representative asked how it maintains its independence, citing projects carried out in 2020;

Intl. WeLoveU Foundation (Republic of Korea) — as China’s representative requested a full list of projects carried out in 2021, as well as information about its partners;

Kuwait Bar Association (Kuwait) — as Israel’s representative requested information about the organization’s anticipated activities for 2022 and beyond;

Kvinnors Nätverk (Sweden) — as Turkey’s representative requested information on its planned projects, notably related to scope, funding and outcomes;

L’institut européen de droit international et les relations internationales — The European Institute for International Law and International Relations (France) — as the Russian Federation’s representative requested a list of all countries in which it works;

Muslim Hands (United Kingdom) — as Israel’s representative requested information about its affiliation with the Global Good Coalition;

Nations Global Consulting LLC (United States) — as Israel’s representative asked about its relationship with Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor;

Non c’è pace senza giustizia (Italy) — as China’s representative asked the organization why it took 15 years to register itself, following its 2004 establishment;

Panhellenic Union of Cappadocian Associations (Greece) — as Turkey’s representative asked about the nature and structure of its relationship with its member organizations;

Photographers without Borders (Canada) — as China’s representative asked the organization how it ensures the accuracy of articles on its website;

SKT Welfare (United Kingdom) — as China’s representative requested information about its local implementing partners;

Salam for Democracy and Human Rights (United Kingdom) — as Bahrain’s representative requested further information on its consultancy and advisory activities;

Syrian American Medical Society Foundation (United States) — as the Russian Federation’s representative requested information on its project costs.  The representative of the United States expressed strong support for the accreditation of the Foundation, despite repeated attacks by a regime that repeatedly attacks health facilities.  “The NGO saves lives,” she said, noting that it provided care for 2.5 million Syrians throughout the country in 2021.  “We strongly believe the work they are doing is significant and meaningful”;

Terre Des Femmes — Menschenrechte fuer die Frau e.V. (Germany) — as Nicaragua’s representative requested information on the nature of its income-producing contracts;

The Andrey Rylkov Foundation for Health and Social Justice (Russian Federation) — as the Russian Federation’s representative asked whether non-governmental organization representatives had participated in United Nations events; and

The Center for Bioethics and Culture (United States) — as China’s representative asked how the organization ensures efficient use of its funding.

Interactive Discussion

The speaker from Nithyananda Dhyanapeetam said the volunteer-run organization was founded in 2005 and serves various communities, including in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.  All humanitarian services are provided according to Vedic principles; it respects all life by respecting a vegetarian diet.  More than 1 million free meals have been provided.  The organization promotes good mental health by conducting mindfulness and conflict resolution programmes and aims to achieve well-being by offering free yoga and meditation classes.

The representative of the United States asked about the organization’s current relationship with Swami Nithyananda, who has faced charges in India for kidnapping and other abuse.  The speaker from Nithyananda Dhyanapeetam replied that the organization is a charity and an independent entity.  It has no legal relationship with any other entity, nor with Swami Nithyananda.  It looks to him only as a spiritual guide.  He explained that Swami Nithyananda was charged with rape and incarcerated for 51 days in 2010.  Victims were encouraged to come forward, with free travel provided.  After 51 days, however, he was released from incarceration, in part because no victims came forward.  On the kidnapping charge, he said “there is no victim claiming kidnapping”.

India’s representative asked the speaker to explain how Swami Nithyananda is the sole trustee of the organization if in fact it has no relationship with him.  He asked further about its democratic election procedure and why its website takes a user to a URL that discusses a nation with spiritual embassies and a reserve bank.  “He is a fugitive,” he said, who is wanted on criminal charges of rape and kidnapping in various courts in India, with a notice even issued by the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL).

The speaker replied that that the organization will provide a written response to the questions raised.

The speaker from Nithanandeshwara Hindu Temple, Charlotte said the organization is a United States Hindu religious non-profit established in 2015.  Through food donation and free education, for example, it contributes to the local community.  Seven mayors have commended it for the provision of humanitarian activities, which are aligned with the Economic and Social Council charter.

The representative of the United States asked about the organization’s current relationship with Swami Nithyananda, who has faced charges in India for kidnapping and other abuse, to which the speaker from Nithanandeshwara Hindu Temple, Charlotte replied that it is a charitable organization, which carries out its activities in accordance with doctrines as interpreted by the supreme pontiff of Hinduism.  “He is our spiritual guide,” he explained.  In the Hindu tradition, ancient truths are interpreted by a lineage of gurus to help people like himself to understand and live their lives.  “We follow his teachings,” he said.

India’s representative asked about the legal capacity in which the speaker represents the organization today and whether he is a member.  He also asked how the organization sustains itself with a total income of $1 and $66 of expenditures.  “To run a basic structure, you need money and you do not have it,” he said.  He also asked about the speaker’s email address, which is hosted by a certain platform, noting that “the Nithyananda connection” appears on the website.

The speaker replied that the Nithanandeshwara Hindu Temple, Charlotte is a donation-based organization, and it will provide a written response to the question raised.  He clarified that he is not a member of Nithanandeshwara Hindu Temple, Charlotte.  However, he is representing the organization today, as logistical issues prevented the original speakers from travelling to the United Nations.

Cuba’s representative asked the Secretariat official for clarity on how a speaker who is not a member of the organization can represent it at the United Nations and whether a background check could be requested, in order to make the most of these discussions as possible.  “It is an issue to consider,” he said.

The Secretariat official responded that organizations can nominate representatives and members.  However, “we cannot verify, within our limited resources,” he said, taking note of the representative’s concerns.

The speaker from the National Committee on BRICS Research, noting that the organization has described its work to the NGO Committee for seven years, said it was created in 2011 to spur exchanges among academic communities in the BRICS countries [Brazil, Russian Federation, India, China, South Africa].  It organizes and participates in events, such as its trademark “BRICS school” to educate young researchers, he said, noting that this training is now conducted online.  The Committee also organizes academic and civil forums, which are under way in China, the current chair of the BRICS countries.

The representative of the United States cited the organization’s statement that its activities include providing expertise to support cooperation in economic and humanitarian spheres among BRICS countries and discussing BRICS issues with the international community.  She asked more about its economic and humanitarian cooperation, asking if she correctly understands the activities to involve the publication of papers, and the reporting and sharing of information with like-minded others.

The speaker replied that the National Committee on BRICS Research does not only include like-minded scholars in its discussions and activities.  It conducts free discussions.  Also, its members are not limited to those from BRICS countries.  Others are from the United States, Canada, Italy and France.  The organization does not seek unanimity of views, he explained, adding that its activities can be found on its website.

For information media. Not an official record.