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NGO Committee, by Historic Vote, Approves Openly Lesbian Medical Organization for Special Consultative Status

in AUSTRALIA, 23/07/2013

May 24 2013 - During impassioned exchanges about the national-based Australian Lesbian Medical Association, which advances both lesbian health professionals’ visibility and lesbian health in general, the representative of Bulgaria said that the organization had faced postponement for seven consecutive sessions and had answered 54 questions posed to it over the years. The Committee was “systematically deterring” its application. It was time, she stated, to “take a decision”.

Committee on NGOs - 25th & 26th Meetings (AM & PM)

 

During Session’s Fifth Day, Members Approve 16 Applications, Defer 38

In a historic vote today, the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations recommended special consultative status to a Lesbian medical organization, as it continued to put under scrutiny the dozens of applications before it — approving special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council for 16 organizations and deferring action on 38 applications.

During impassioned exchanges about the national-based Australian Lesbian Medical Association, which advances both lesbian health professionals’ visibility and lesbian health in general, the representative of Bulgaria said that the organization had faced postponement for seven consecutive sessions and had answered 54 questions posed to it over the years. The Committee was “systematically deterring” its application. It was time, she stated, to “take a decision”.

The Committee then approved recommendation by vote — 9 in favour to 6 against, with 2 abstentions — of special consultative status to the Australian Lesbian Medical Association.

Following the vote, several Members expressed enthusiastic support for the decision, with the United States’ delegate saying she was “thrilled” to be “witnessing history”. The representative of Belgium, who also voted in favour, underscored that the Association, as one of the oldest on the list of deferred organizations, was a “victim of unfair treatment and discrimination” by the Committee. As well, Israel’s representative said today’s vote sent a positive message to all lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender organizations that had previously been prevented from receiving consultative status.

However, the representative of Sudan, who had voted against, said that “what we just saw” went against Committee methods. It led to a division among Members and could negatively impact future deliberations. Echoing that sentiment, Venezuela’s representative, although she had voted in favour of granting status, said that her position on procedural methods had not change, specifically the right of Members to pose questions to any organizations being consider by the Committee. Decisions must not be “forced”, she said, emphasizing that time criteria could not justify a decision.

The 19-member Committee recommends that the Council grant general, special or roster status, in accordance with such criteria as the applicant’s mandate, governance and financial regime. Organizations enjoying general and special status can attend the Council’s meetings and circulate statements, while those with general status can, in addition, address meetings and propose agenda items. Roster-status non-governmental organizations (NGOs) can only attend meetings.

Recommended for special consultative status were the following NGOs: Almanar Voluntary Organization; Associação Brasileira de Celulose e Papel; Association for Integrated Development-Comilla (AID-COMILLA); Australian Lesbian Medical Association; Freann Financial Services Limited; Human Rights Network (HURINET); Living Bread International Church, Inc.; Moorish Holy Temple of Science/Moorish Science Temple; Omega Research Foundation Limited; Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung — Gesellschaftsanalyse und Politische Bildung e.V.; Scholars at Risk Network; Stichting Coalition for Work with Psychotrauma and Peace; The Rockefeller Foundation; The Society for the Policing of Cyberspace; Türkiye Yesilay Cemiyeti; and the Worldwide Coalition for Peace, Inc.

The Committee postponed action on applications from the following NGOs: Afrikaanse Forum vir Burgerregte; Al-Maqdese for Society Development; Al-Marsad, The Arab Centre for Human Rights in the Golan Heights (R.A.); Asia Catalyst; Asia Center for Human Rights (ACHR); Asian-Eurasian Human Rights Forum; Asociación Española para el Derecho Internacional de los Derechos Humanos AEDIDH; Association for Defending Victims of Terrorism; Association des Populations des Montagnes du Monde; British Columbia Civil Liberties Association; Bureau international pour le respect des droits de l’homme au Sahara Occidental; Casa Generalizia della Societa’ del Sacro Cuore; Center for Global Nonkilling; EKTA; Green Planet; Himalayan Consensus Institute Limited; Hokok Coalición Internacional Contra la Impunidad; Human Touch India; India Media Centre; Initiative for Change-IFC; International Human Rights Commission Relief Fund Trust; Islamic African Relief Agency (IARA); International Partnership for Human Rights; Kuchlak Welfare Society; New Era Educational and Charitable Support Initiative; New World Hope Organization (NWHO); Palpung Munishasan Dharmachakra Sangh; Prahar; Ray of Hope; Réseau International des Droits Humains (RIDH); Sairam Population Research Trust; Sewa Development Trust Sindh; Skyian Welfare Organization; The Kuki Organization for Human Rights Trust; Vivegam Godfrey; West Africa Centre for Peace Foundation; World Shelter Organisation; and the WWT (Wespak Welfare Trust).

Also participating in the session’s exchanges were the representatives of Burundi, China, Cuba, India, Kyrgyzstan, Morocco, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Peru, Russian Federation, Senegal and Turkey.

The Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations will meet again at 10 a.m. Tuesday, 28 May, to continue its review of new applications and requests for reclassification.

Special Consultative Status

The Committee recommended that the Economic and Social Council grant special consultative status to the following NGOs:

Almanar Voluntary Organization — a national organization based in Sudan aiming to promote women’s rights and their socioeconomic development;

Associação Brasileira de Celulose e Papel — a national organization based in Brazil aiming to promote issues relating to climate change and the food crisis;

Association for Integrated Development-Comilla (AID-COMILLA) — a national Bangladesh-based organization working to build a society free from exploitation;

Australian Lesbian Medical Association — a national organization aiming to advance the visibility of lesbian doctors and lesbian health and provide a network for lesbian doctors, after a recorded vote of 9 in favour (Belgium, Bulgaria, India, Israel, Nicaragua, Peru, Turkey, United States and Venezuela) to 6 against (China, Morocco, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Senegal and Sudan), with 2 abstentions (Kyrgyzstan and Mozambique) and Cuba not present;

Freann Financial Services Limited — a national Ghana-based organization seeking to provide an array of financial services;

Human Rights Network (HURINET) — a national organization based in Uganda aiming to promote and protect human rights;

Living Bread International Church, Inc. — an international Israel-based organization aiming to provide the poor with humanitarian aid and education;

Moorish Holy Temple of Science/Moorish Science Temple — a national United States-based organization working to promote justice and equality;

Omega Research Foundation Limited — an international United Kingdom-based organization aiming to provide research on military and security technologies;

Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung — Gesellschaftsanalyse und Politische Bildung e.V. — a national Germany-based organization aiming to provide political education;

Scholars at Risk Network — an international United States-based organization aiming to defend threatened scholars and promote academic freedom;

Stichting Coalition for Work with Psychotrauma and Peace — an international Netherlands-based organization aiming to build peace on a long-term inter-disciplinary basis and empower individuals through health, in particular mental health;

The Rockefeller Foundation — an international United States-based organization aiming to promote the well-being of humanity;

The Society For The Policing of Cyberspace — an international United States-based organization working to promote cybersecurity through enhancing global partnerships;

Turkiye Yesilay Cemiyeti — a national organization based in Turkey aiming to fight drug addiction; and

Worldwide Coalition for Peace, Inc. — an international organization based in the United States working to establish an internet site for people to contribute to solving challenges facing humankind.

Postponed

The Committee postponed its consideration of applications submitted by the following:

Afrikaanse Forum vir Burgerregte — a national South Africa-based organization aiming to promote democracy and human rights, particularly in South Africa — as the representative of Cuba requested specific examples of its work with minorities. Her counterpart from Sudan requested more information on its activities.

Al-Maqdese for Society Development — a national organization based in East Jerusalem aiming to promote Palestinian rights — as the representative of Israel requested further clarification of its affiliation with other NGOs.

Al-Marsad, The Arab Centre for Human Rights in the Golan Heights (R.A.) — a national organization based in the Golan Heights via Israel aiming to address the struggles of war, colonialism and occupation — as the representative of Israel requested further information on criteria for other organizations to become members of this organization.

Asia Catalyst — an international organization based in the United States aiming to promote the development of local NGOs in Asia — as the representative of China requested it correct its terminology regarding Tibet.

Asia Center for Human Rights (ACHR) — an international organization based in the Republic of Korea aiming to improve human rights in Asia — as the representative of China requested it correct its terminology regarding Tibet.

Asian-Eurasian Human Rights Forum — an international organization based in India aiming to promote solidarity and social responsibility — as the representative of Pakistan requested an updated financial statement.

Asociación Española para el Derecho Internacional de los Derechos Humanos AEDIDH — an international Spain-based organization aiming to promote training, development and implementation of international human rights law — as the representative of China requested it correct its terminology regarding Tibet.

The representative of Morocco requested further information on its funding, work with other NGOs and a migration study the organization cited.

Association for Defending Victims of Terrorism — a national Iran-based organization aiming to give a voice to victims of terrorism — as the representative of Israel requested further information on its affiliates;

Association des Populations des Montagnes du Monde — an international organization based in France aiming to strengthen the skills of local authorities to enable mountain people to live in a sustainable way — as the representative of China requested it correct its terminology regarding Tibet.

The representative of Morocco requested further information on activities undertaken in his country.

British Columbia Civil Liberties Association — a national organization based in Canada aiming to defend civil liberties and human rights — as the representative of Pakistan requested details of NGOs and a list of activities.

Bureau international pour le respect des droits de l’homme au Sahara Occidental — a national organization based in Switzerland aiming to promote human rights and the rights of the Saharan population — as the representative of Morocco said it was a politically motivated organization. He requested the organization to delete on its website any references that constituted interference in the internal affairs of a country, which he said “was a flagrant contradiction of the UN Charter”.

Casa Generalizia della Societa’ del Sacro Cuore — an international Italy-based organization aiming to promote justice based on equality — as the representative of Cuba requested further information on activities conducted in Latin America and with what local organizations.

Center for Global Nonkilling — an international organization based in the United States aiming to promote peace through creativity — as the representative of China requested it correct its terminology regarding Tibet.

EKTA — a national India-based organization seeking to build a gender-just and equitable society without discrimination based on class, caste or religion — as the delegate of Pakistan requested a list of member organizations and a financial statement with details of incoming funds.

Green Planet — a national organization based in India aiming to serve the declining ecosystem — as the representative of Pakistan requested a list of organizations it worked with.

Himalayan Consensus Institute Limited — a national China-based organization seeking practical community-based solutions for the indigenous Himalayan region — as the representative of China requested further clarification on Tibet and Taiwan Province of China, and additional information of its sources of income.

Hokok Coalición Internacional Contra la Impunidad — an international Lebanon-based organization aiming to pursue criminals who violate the security of people, as the representative of Israel requested further clarification of its income and requested a copy of the latest financial statement.

Human Touch India — a national organization based in India aiming to inform, inspire and engage youth in development — as the representative of Pakistan requested its latest financial statement.

India Media Centre — a national India-based organization aiming to empower the public voice through freedom of the press — as the representative of China requested further information on its activities beyond its own country.

Initiative for Change-IFC — a national Pakistan-based organization aiming to promote education and agriculture development — as the representative of India requested further information on its affiliate organizations and work carried out.

International Human Rights Commission Relief Fund Trust — an international Pakistan-based organization aiming to improve the living conditions in relief camps — as the representative of India requested an updated list of activities.

Islamic African Relief Agency (IARA) — an international Sudan-based organization aiming to provide humanitarian relief and promote gender empowerment — as the representative of the United States said the organization had been identified by the United States Department of Treasury for its affiliation and financing of Osama Bin Laden. She also requested a list of United Nations entities which had provided it with funding.

The representative of Sudan, stressing that the Committee had to be more cautious of the tendency to ask questions as a tactic of delay, defended the NGO and said it had not funded Osama Bin Laden. The representative of China also stressed that questioning organizations should not impede the Committee’s objective.

International Partnership for Human Rights — a national Belgium-based organization aiming to empower civil society working on behalf of human rights — as Cuba’s delegate requested information on projects carried out with other organizations.

Kuchlak Welfare Society — a national Pakistan-based organization aiming to develop poor communities living in the far-flung areas of Baluchistan — as the representative of Pakistan requested additional details on the flood relief projects, areas it conducted its work and other organizations it partnered with.

New Era Educational and Charitable Support Initiative — a national Nigeria-based organization seeking to promote human values that transcend religious, ethnic and cultural differences — as the representative of China requested additional information on its projects with other international organizations.

New World Hope Organization (NWHO) — an international Pakistan-based organization aiming to alleviate human suffering worldwide — as the representative of India requested further clarification on financial statements.

Palpung Munishasan Dharmachakra Sangh — an international organization based in India aiming to promote the welfare of others without consideration of caste, religion, or gender — as the representative of China requested it correct its terminology regarding Tibet.

Prahar — a national organization based in India seeking to promote people empowerment in various grass-roots efforts as the representative of Pakistan requested a list of donors and an explanation of recent activities.

Ray of Hope — a national organization based in Pakistan working to provide drug treatment and rehabilitation services — as the representative of Pakistan requested further clarification on how, given its low budget, it could contribute to the Economic and Social Council.

Réseau International des Droits Humains (RIDH) — an international Switzerland-based organization working to promote human rights — as the representative of Nicaragua requested information on projects carried out in her country and Latin America. Her counterpart from Venezuela requested further clarification on criteria of selecting countries it worked in.

Sairam Population Research Trust — a national India-based organization aiming to contribute to population control and family welfare activities — as the representative of Pakistan requested further details on projects conducted.

Sewa Development Trust Sindh — a national Pakistan-based organization aiming to provide humanitarian and development assistance in remote areas — as the representative of Pakistan asked if it conducted projects outside the Sindh region.

Skyian Welfare Organization — a national Pakistan-based organization aiming to provide health and education facilities — as the representative of India requested further information on funding and activities.

The Kuki Organization for Human Rights Trust — an international organization based in India aiming to organize communities and protect property rights — as the representative of Cuba requested further clarification on how it conducted its activities, given its low budget, and requested an updated financial statement.

The representative of India requested it resubmit its answers to certain questions of the application “so there is no room for confusion”.

Vivegam Godfrey — a national India-based organization aiming to provide education and health services regardless of religion, race or gender — as the representative of China requested it correct its terminology regarding Taiwan Province of China.

West Africa Centre for Peace Foundation — a national organization based in Ghana aiming to provide education of human rights and leadership training — as the representative of China requested a detailed list of its members.

World Shelter Organisation — an international India-based organization aiming to provide shelter to the homeless in developing and underdeveloped countries — as the representative of Pakistan requested further detail on the survey it conducted in her country.

WWT (Wespak Welfare Trust) — a national organization based in Pakistan aiming to set up educational institutions and establish libraries — as the representative of Pakistan requested information on organizations it worked with.

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