Δευτέρα, 23 Ιουλίου 2007

ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL ADOPTS DECISIONS ON RECOMMENDATIONS CONTAINED



IN REPORT OF COMMITTEE ON NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS



(Reissued as received.)



GENEVA, 20 July (UN Information Service) -- The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) this afternoon adopted decisions on a range of recommendations contained in the report of the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs).



Among other actions, the Council upheld decisions by the NGO Committee to reject applications of the Coalition gaie et lesbienne du Québec and the Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights for consultative status, but then adopted by roll-call votes proposed decisions to give the two NGOs consultative status.



The Council upheld decisions by the NGO Committee to reject applications by the World Sindhi Institute and the Jewish National Fund. It adopted by consensus a decision to withdraw the consultative status of Liberal International for one year.



It decided to grant consultative status to 89 non-governmental organizations, including general consultative status, special consultative status, and roster consultative status and to reclassify one non-governmental organization from roster consultative status to special consultative status.



The Council took note of the report of the NGO Committee on its 2007 regular session and decided that the 2008 regular session of the Committee would be held from 21 to 30 January 2008 and its resumed session from 29 May to 6 June 2008, and approved the provisional agenda and documentation for the 2008 session of the Committee.



Speaking in general comments and in the course of the voting process on the draft decisions were representatives from Iraq, Canada, Brazil, Norway, Guinea-Bissau, Algeria, Pakistan, China, Portugal, United States, Paraguay and Cuba.



ECOSOC will resume its meeting on Monday, 23 July at 10 a.m., when it will consider the implementation of the Declaration of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples by the specialized agencies and the international institutions associated by the United Nations; regional coordination; economic and social repercussions of the Israeli occupation on the living conditions of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory; coordination programme and other questions: joint United Nations programme in HIV/AIDS; social and human rights questions; and genetic privacy and non discrimination.



Action on Decisions



In decision I, contained in part I of the report of the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations (E/2007/32), on applications for consultative status and requests for reclassification received from non-governmental organizations, adopted without a vote, the Economic and Social Council decides: to grant consultative status to a number of non-governmental organizations, including special consultative status and roster status; to reclassify a non-governmental organization from special consultative status to general consultative status; to reclassify three non-governmental organizations from Roster to special consultative status; to note that the Committee took note of the quadrennial reports of a number of non-governmental organizations in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations; and to note that the Committee decided to close consideration of the request for consultative status made by four non-governmental organizations.



In decision II, contained in part I of the report of the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations (E/2007/32), on application of the World Sindhi Institute, adopted without a vote, the Economic and Social Council decides not to grant consultative status to the non-governmental organization World Sindhi Institute.



In decision III, contained in part I of the report of the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations (E/2007/32), on application of the Coalition gaie et lesbienne du Québec, which was rejected after a roll-call vote with 13 in favour, 20 against, and 13 abstentions, the Economic and Social Council decided not to grant consultative status to the non-governmental organization Coalition gaie et lesbienne du Québec.



The results of the vote were as follows:



In favour (13): Belarus, Benin, Chad, China, Guinea, Iraq, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka and Sudan.



Against (20): Albania, Austria, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Guinea-Bissau, Japan, Lithuania, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Romania, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and United States of America.



Abstention (13): Angola, Barbados, Cape Verde, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guyana, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Luxembourg, Paraguay, Philippines and Thailand.



In a decision (E/2007/L.20), on application of the non-governmental organization Coalition gaie et lesbienne du Québec, following a roll-call vote which was adopted with 22 in favour to 13 against, with 13 abstentions, the Economic and Social Council, having considered the report of the Committee on NGO Status, decides to grant consultative status to the Coalition gaie et lesbienne du Québec.



The results of the vote were as follows:



In favour (22): Albania, Austria, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Guinea-Bissau, Iceland, Japan, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Romania, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and United States of America.



Against (13): Algeria, Belarus, Benin, China, Guinea, Indonesia, Iraq, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sri Lanka and Sudan.



Abstention (13): Angola, Barbados, Cape Verde, Chad, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guyana, Haiti, India, Paraguay, Philippines, South Africa and Thailand.



In decision IV, contained in part I of the report of the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations (E/2007/32), on application of Geneva Call, adopted without a vote, the Economic and Social Council takes note of the withdrawal of the application of the non-governmental organization Geneva Call for consultative status with the Council.



In decision V, contained in part I of the report of the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations (E/2007/32), on the report of the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations on its 2007 regular session, adopted without a vote, the Economic and Social Council takes note of the report of the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations on its 2007 regular session.



In decision I, contained in part II of the report of the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations (E/2007/32 (Part II)), on applications for consultative status and requests for reclassification received from non-governmental organizations, adopted without a vote, the Economic and Social Council decides: to grant consultative status to 89 non-governmental organizations, including general consultative status, special consultative status, and roster consultative status; to reclassify one non-governmental organization from roster consultative status to special consultative status; to note that the Committee took note of the quadrennial reports of 56 organizations; and to note that the Committee closed consideration of the application for consultative status made by three non-governmental organizations.



In decision II, contained in part II of the report of the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations (E/2007/32 (Part II)), on the withdrawal of consultative status of the non-governmental organization Liberal International, adopted without a vote as orally amended, the Economic and Social Council decides to suspend the consultative status of the non-governmental organization Liberal International for a period of one year.



In decision III, contained in part II of the report of the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations (E/2007/32 (Part II)), on application of the non-governmental organization Jewish National Fund, adopted without a vote, the Economic and Social Council decides not to grant consultative status to the non-governmental organization Jewish National Fund.



In decision IV, contained in part II of the report of the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations (E/2007/32 (Part II)), on the application of the non-governmental organization Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights, rejected after a roll-call vote with 14 in favour to 22 against, with 11 abstentions, the Economic and Social Council decides not to grant consultative status to the non-governmental organization Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights.



In a decision (E/2007/L.21) on the application of the non-governmental organization Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights, adopted after a roll-call vote with 22 in favour to 12 against, with 12 abstentions, the Council, having considered the report of the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations, decides to grant consultative status to the Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights.



The results of the vote were as follows:



In favour (22): Albania, Austria, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Guinea-Bissau, Iceland, Japan, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Romania, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and United States of America.



Against (12): Belarus, Benin, China, Guinea, Indonesia, Iraq, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sri Lanka and Sudan.



Abstention (12): Angola, Barbados, Cape Verde, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guyana, Haiti, India, Paraguay, Philippines, South Africa and Thailand.



In decision V, contained in part II of the report of the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations (E/2007/32 (Part II)), on the dates of the 2008 session of the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations and the provisional agenda, adopted without a vote, the Economic and Social Council: decides that the 2008 regular session of the Committee will be held from 21 to 30 January 2008 and its resumed session from 29 May to 6 June 2008; and approves the provisional agenda and documentation for the 2008 session of the Committee.



In decision VI, contained in part II of the report of the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations (E/2007/32 (Part II)), on the report of the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations on its 2007 resumed session, adopted without a vote, the Economic and Social Council takes note of the report of the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations on its 2007 resumed session.



General Comments and Explanations of Vote Before and After Vote on Decision 3 Concerning Coalition gaie et lesbienne du Québec



HUGH ADSETT ( Canada) said in a general comment that Canada believed that members of the Economic and Social Council should be called upon because there had been discriminations in the past in the field of sexual orientation, which should not be repeated. The United Nations should be inclusive and allow a variety of voices to be heard. There was need to take into account all of the diversity of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that existed in the world. Even if some governments did not agree with some NGOs, they should not be excluded from the United Nations. The same rights should be given to them to allow their voice to be heard within the United Nations. Canada was in favour of an inclusive approach when it came to the accreditation of NGOs.



JOSE RICARDO DA COSTA (Brazil), in a general comment, said that non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that represented homosexual interests had been instrumental in Brazil for improving the life of those people. The Council could benefit from the inclusion of these NGOs, and Brazil would therefore vote against the resolution.



HILDE J. SKORPEN ( Norway) said in a general comment that there was a need to include organizations like the ones mentioned.



ALFREDO LOPES CABRAL ( Guinea-Bissau), in an explanation of the vote after the vote, said that any discrimination, whether based on race or sexual orientation was unacceptable. The United Nations Charter attached or provided special importance to this whole matter. It was underpinned by non-discrimination, or the prohibition of discrimination based on sex, race, or any other grounds. It was necessary to assert that principle today. It was hoped in the rest of today’s decisions, this principle would be respected. There was utmost consideration for the decisions adopted by the Committee on Recommendations, however, it was felt that as regarded the issue that was under consideration, such requests required objectivity, and this was why Guinea-Bissau had found it necessary to vote against it.



EL HACENE EL-BEY (Algeria) expressed a wish to have it recorded that with regards to the vote on decision 3 which did not grant the Coalition gaie et lesbienne du Québec consultative status, if it had been in the room, it would have voted in favour of that decision.



Introduction of and General Comment on L.20 on Coalition gaie et lesbienne du Québec



Mr. ADSETT ( Canada), introducing a draft decision contained in document E/2007/L.20, said that Canada was concerned about the consultative status of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) dealing with sexual orientation. It was crucial for such NGOs to express their views within the United Nations. By this draft decision, consultative status would be granted to the NGO “Coalition gaie et lesbienne du Québec”. The credibility of the Council would be compromised if such an NGO were deprived from its consultative status.



BILAL HAYEE ( Pakistan) said in a general statement that Pakistan would be voting no on L.20 because the Economic and Social Council should be able to implement and strengthen its own mechanism and subsidiary bodies. ECOSOC had elaborated detailed criteria following to which NGOs should have consultative status or not. Granting consultative status to this special NGO would, therefore, be a violation of ECOSOC’s own rules.



General Comments, Explanations of Vote Before and After Vote on Decision Concerning Liberal International



Mr. LOPES CABRAL ( Guinea-Bissau) said in a general comment that it was satisfying that the Council had managed to achieve the consensus result after amendments to the decision, as this was far more appropriate. The delegation of China was thanked for its very positive contribution to these results, which reflected the wisdom of the Council.



LI XIAOMEI ( China) said in a general statement that it had always actively supported the constructive approach of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) within the United Nations. But those NGOs must strictly abide by the rules of the United Nations. In March 2007, Liberal International had had a representative who actively spoke in various meetings, such as the Human Rights Council. The Human Rights Council then issued a statement that this representative had no right to speak before the Council. China had persuaded Liberal International to admit its mistake and to make sure that no such mistake would be made in the future. China recently noted a positive change in the attitude of Liberal International.



The Chairman of Liberal International had admitted in a letter that he regretted the incident that happened in March 2007. The NGO had already taken the necessary steps to ensure that no such incidents would occur again. China had accepted the amendment proposed to sustain the consultative status of Liberal International for one year, although it was not fully satisfied. China hoped that Liberal International would fulfil its commitment in peace. Thanks were expressed to the British delegation for its endeavours.



Mr. ADSETT (Canada), in an explanation of vote after the vote, said it deplored the decision regarding the one-year suspension of Liberal International, as it did not view that the incident in question breached the rules on non-governmental organizations (NGOs). This suspension sent the wrong signal. Through their consultative status, NGOs contributed important perspectives, and supported transparency and accountability. The links between the United Nations and democratic civil society actors should be strengthened. This was a step backwards. However, Canada had not impeded the consensus.



CATARINA CARVALHO ( Portugal), speaking on behalf of the European Union, said the European Union thanked all participants for the consensual outcome.



RICHARD T. MILLER ( United States) said that Liberal International did not substantiate a politically motivated act before the Human Rights Council. The United States agreed that Taiwan’s participation in the World Health Organization was strongly in the world’s interest. The United States therefore did not find a basis for sanctioning Liberal International.



TERUMI MATSUO DE CLAVEROL (Paraguay), in an explanation of the vote after the vote, said Paraguay had not opposed the consensus, but felt that the non-governmental organization Liberal International did not abuse the status granted to it by the Council, nor were there solid foundations for the sanction proposed by the Committee on NGOs. The sanction of suspension was not in accordance with the resolution.



CHENG JINGYE (China), in a general comment, said with regards to the observations made by Canada and the United States, all had in their hands the letter from the President of Liberal International, dated July 19, and this letter spoke for itself. The letter recognized that the event should not have happened, and said that the non-governmental organization (NGO) recognized that NGOs in consultative status with the Council should abide by the rules and procedures of the Council. The NGO undertook to ensure that its future participation and that of its affiliates would be in accordance with the rules and procedures, and had taken a number of internal measures to ensure that such incidents would not happen in the future. It was quite clear that there had been a serious mistake.



THEMINA JANJUA ( Pakistan), in a general comment, said that the Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) Committee had discussed in detail the case of Liberal International. The fact was that this NGO was in contravention with what was required of a non-governmental organization. The letter to the Ambassador of China confirmed that. Liberal International did not qualify to have a consultative status at the Economic and Social Council. The efforts made by China were appreciated. No organization, which undermined the territorial integrity of a Member State of the United Nations, could be involved in the work of the United Nations. However, Liberal International undertook activities in this sense.



MARIA DEL CARMEN HERRERA CASEIRO (Cuba), in a general comment, said with regards to the earlier statements by the United States and Canada, Cuba was familiar with the subject matter and what was said at the Committee, as it was a member of that body. The Committee’s decision was to withdraw advisory status from the non-governmental organization Liberal International. Nevertheless, the delegation of China, which had been offended in this instance, out of a spirit of flexibility, understanding and compromise, committed to NGOs and their role, had worked to achieve a consensus decision, with the suspension of the NGO for only one year. The offence committed by the organization clearly violated the provisions of resolution 1996/31. There had been flexibility and understanding displayed, and therefore the sanction had been reduced. However, the organization had committed an error and deserved sanctioning.



General Comments on Decision Concerning Jewish National Fund



Mr. MILLER ( United States) said that the United States opposed and dissociated itself from the decision denying the application of the consultative status of the Jewish National Fund. The United States strongly supported the view that the Fund would positively contribute to the work of the Council.



Ms. CARVALHO ( Portugal), speaking on behalf of the European Union, said that every non-governmental organization (NGO) was entitled to treatment as per the resolution on the status of the NGOs. This was a matter of principle. The decision taken by the NGO Committee was regretted by the European Union.



Explanations of Vote Before and After the Vote on Decision IV Concerning Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights



Ms. CARVALHO (Portugal), speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote on behalf of the European Union, said that the European Union strongly believed that every non-governmental organization (NGO) was entitled to have consultative status within the United Nations as stated in the ECOSOC resolution on the consultative status of NGOs. NGOs should be granted consultative status if they had aims that were in conformity with the principles of the United Nations Charter, among other things. Recently, the NGO Committee had only rejected consultative status for NGOs that were connected to terrorist activities. The Swedish NGO in question clearly did not fall in that category. The European Union would vote against the recommendation and encouraged all other members to do likewise.



Mr. ADSETT ( Canada), in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said Canada was in favour of the United Nations being inclusive, and allowing a range of voices to be heard. The diversity of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) should be taken into account. The Committee on NGOs should consider all NGOs fairly, and Canada was deeply concerned by the repeated refusal of the Committee to consider NGOs that were based on sexual orientation, and urged the Council to attribute consultative status to the NGO, as it was of the utmost importance that legitimate organizations, representing a section of society, had the opportunity to make their voices heard in the United Nations. Canada would vote against the decision.



Introduction of L.21 on Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights



Ms. CARVALHO ( Portugal), introducing draft decision E/2007/L.21, said that it believed that the Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights should have the right of consultative status at ECOSOC. The Swedish non-governmental organization (NGO) had clearly demonstrated that it fulfilled all criteria stated in the ECOSOC resolution on the consultative status of NGOs. The Economic and Social Council should therefore grant consultative status to this NGO and the European Union would vote in favour of this draft resolution.



General Comment on Decision V on Dates of 2008 Session of Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations



Mr. LOPES CABRAL ( Guinea-Bissau) said that Guinea-Bissau wanted to state that it was delighted to note a specific paragraph on the methods of work in the proposed agenda for the Committee of Non-Governmental Organizations. It would be very wise for the Committee to proceed to that review and reconsider its methods of work.



Document



The Council has before it the report of the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations on its 2007 regular session (E/2007/32 (Part I) and Corr.1 and E/2007/32 (Part II) and Corr.1), which summarizes, in Part I, actions taken during the Committee's 2007 regular session, held from 22 to 31 January 2007. The Committee had before it 140 non-governmental organization (NGO) applications for consultative status, of which it recommended 92, deferred 42 for further consideration at a later date, and closed consideration of four NGOs. It did not recommend one NGO deferred from previous sessions. The Committee had also before it six requests for reclassification of consultative status, of which it recommended five. In addition, it reviewed 105 quadrennial reports. The Committee heard eight representatives of NGOs. The report also contains five draft decisions for action by the Economic and Social Council, based on the Committee's recommendations noted above.



Part II contains the summary of activities undertaken by the Committee at its resumed 2007 session, held from 14 to 18 May 2007. At that session, the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations had before it 136 NGO applications for consultative status, of which it recommended 89, deferred 42, and closed consideration of 3. It did not recommend consultative status for two organizations deferred from previous sessions. The Committee had before it two requests for reclassification of consultative status, of which it recommended one. In addition, it reviewed 63 quadrennial reports, 6 of which had been deferred from previous sessions. The Committee heard seven representatives of NGOs. Part II contains six draft decisions on related matters calling for action by the Economic and Social Council.



General Statement on Non-Governmental Organizations



MOHAMMED S. MEJID ( Iraq) said that building a society where human rights could be applied was a noble objective. That was why civil society institutions like non-governmental organizations (NGOs) needed to be established. They had become more and more important in Iraq recently. NGOs played an important role in raising awareness about human rights in Iraq. The Government of Iraq strived to urge NGOs to increase attention to human rights and present studies, research and reports in this field. The ultimate objective was to promote the objectives and purposes of the United Nations as well as the international conventions relating to civil, economic, social and cultural rights.



These organizations were also meant to maintain fundamental freedoms, he said. NGOs had been encouraged to integrate human rights standards into their standards. The Government of Iraq had set up a special body to follow up and coordinate the activities of NGOs, also encouraging citizens to set up NGOs. Visits had been exchanged and there had been participation in regional and international meetings. NGOs had also tried to obtain consultative status with the Economic and Social Council. Iraq today was in a critical stage and therefore needed the support of the international community.

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