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WikiLeaks: 2008-07-09: 08USUNNEWYORK612: UN Economic and Social Council: Committee on NGOs

by WikiLeaks. 08USUNNEWYORK612: July 09, 2008.

Posted: Sunday, September 08, 2013 at 03:14 PM UT


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Reference ID Created Classification Origin
08USUNNEWYORK612 2008-07-09 23:49 UNCLASSIFIED USUN New York

DE RUCNDT #0612/01 1912349
R 092349Z JUL 08
E.O. 12958: N/A 
REF: A. USUN 516 
     B. STATE 70801 
     C. STATE 60300 
1.  Summary:  At its resumed session May 29 - June 6 and June 
25, ECOSOC,s Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations 
(CNGO) recommended ECOSOC consultative status for a number of 
U.S. NGOs, including the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) 
and the Hudson Institute.  Action on the Democracy Coalition 
Project's application was deferred until the Committee's next 
session in January 2009, along with the applications of 
several other NGOs.  The application of the Human Rights 
Foundation was rejected (ref A).  ECOSOC is expected to 
approve most or all of these decisions when it considers the 
Committee's report July 21; as instructed (ref B), USUN will 
seek to have ECOSOC overturn the Committee's decision against 
the Human Rights Foundation.  End summary. 
2.  During the resumed session, the CNGO had before it 126 
applications for consultative status, including applications 
deferred from earlier sessions.  Of those applications, the 
CNGO recommended 64 for consultative status, deferred 57 for 
further consideration, and closed consideration of two 
organizations.  It did not recommend consultative status for 
one organization and two organizations withdrew their 
applications.  The CNGO also reviewed the quadrennial reports 
of 138 accredited NGOs. 
3.   Among the recommended NGOs were several US-based NGOs 
including African Child Care Association, American 
Association of University Women, Health for Humanity, Hebrew 
Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS), Hudson Institute, International 
Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Junior Achievement 
Worldwide,  National Women,s Studies Association, 
Partnership for Global Justice, and Service for Peace. 
4.   The Hudson Institute, which had been deferred from prior 
sessions, faced strong Cuban opposition due to an article 
written by an affiliate of the Institute that criticized 
Cuba,s human rights record.  The Hudson Institute also faced 
some last minute criticism from Russia, China, Qatar, Egypt, 
Pakistan, Angola and Sudan when Anne Bayefsky, a senior 
fellow of the Institute, published an op-ed article in the 
New York Daily News critical of the CNGO during the same week 
the Institute was asking the CNGO to recommend it for ECOSOC 
accreditation.  In the end, however, the Committee 
recommended the application to ECOSOC, which is expected to 
approve it on July 21. 
5.   The CNGO also recommended granting consultative status 
to the previously deferred application of the US-based Hebrew 
Immigrant Aid Society.  HIAS had faced strong opposition from 
Egypt, Qatar, and Pakistan and from observer delegations 
Syria and Palestine, who questioned its refugee resettlement 
activities and its stance on UN resolutions dealing with 
Palestine.  After repeated appearances before the Committee 
by HIAS representatives, however, and lobbying by Ambassador 
Khalilzad and others, the application was finally approved. 
6.    A Dutch Gay and Lesbian NGO, Federatie van Nederlandse 
Verenigingen Tot Integratie Van Homoseksualiteit, whose 
application had been previously deferred, was recommended for 
consultative status by a one-vote margin, over strong 
opposition led by Egypt, Pakistan, and Qatar.  The UK called 
for a vote on the application and the result was 7 in favor 
(Columbia, Dominica, Israel, Peru, Romania, UK, and US) and 6 
opposed (China, Egypt, Pakistan, Qatar, Russia, and Sudan), 
with 5 abstentions (Angola, Burundi, Guinea, India, Turkey) 
and 1 absence (Cuba).  Cuba's absence may have been the key 
in this narrow victory, and it is not unlikely that the NGO's 
opponents will try to overturn the Committee's decision in 
the ECOSOC meeting July 21. 
7.    Of the applications deferred until the January 2009 
CNGO session, several are U.S. NGOS including Assyrian 
Academic Society, Democracy Coalition Project, the Human 
Rights House Foundation, International Association of Women 
Judges, International Reading Association, and the National 
Democratic Institute for International Affairs.  Most of 
these applications were deferred because some Committee 
members posed more questions to the NGOs (a common tactic, 
used by some members of the CNGO to defer consideration of 
the applications of NGOs with which they do not agree 
8.    The application of the Armenian Fund, U.S.A. was closed 
because the NGO and its representative, who addressed the 
CNGO in person,  refused to adhere to the UN terminology for 
the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan.  The NGO 
representative stated that to use the UN terminology would be 
picking sides in the controversy, which the NGO could not do. 
 The application of Italian NGO Ma Qualcuno Pensi ad Abele 
was also closed, the Committee deciding the NGO had failed to 
respond to the CNGO's questions. 
9.   The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), led by Cuba, filed a 
complaint against the U.S. NGO World Union for Progressive 
Judaism (WUPJ).  The NAM complaint alleged that during the 
sixth special session of the Human Rights Council, on "Human 
Rights Violations Emanating from Israeli Military Incursion 
in the Occupied Palestinian Territory," held in Geneva on 
23-24 January 2008, the representative of the WUPJ had 
violated the principles governing NGOs in ECOSOC consultative 
status by not abiding by a ruling of the Council president to 
stay within the scope of the agenda item in addressing the 
Council.  The NAM complaint asked for withdrawal of the 
WUPJ's ECOSOC accreditation.  The CNGO finally agreed to 
close the matter with only a letter of reprimand.  Per 
instructions (ref C), the United States joined consensus on 
the letter, but made a statement in which it underlined the 
36 years of exemplary service the WUPJ had provided to the UN 
and expressed its regret that the CNGO did not close the 
matter, without the letter of reprimand, once it had received 
apologies both in writing and verbally from the WUPJ's 
10.     In the January 2008 session of the CNGO, the United 
States succeeded in adding to the agenda of the CNGO,s 
working group an agenda item, entitled, "Ways to ensure that 
NGOs, being considered for consultative status or reviewed 
for any other matter, are not involved in any international 
criminal activity, including terrorism, as envisaged in 
ECOSOC  resolution 1996/31."  Cuba, Egypt, and Qatar opposed 
this initiative, saying the issue is outside the scope of the 
mandate of the CNGO and the use of UN terrorist and criminal 
lists will be prejudicial to Islamic NGOs because the main UN 
terrorist list is the al-Qaeda and Taliban sanctions list 
maintained by the 1267 Committee of the Security Council. 
During the CNGO's resumed session in May-June, Cuba, Egypt, 
and Qatar tried to limit the time of discussion on this 
matter in the working group so they could claim the group had 
discussed the issue without reaching a consensus.  USUN, 
however, was able to get the same agenda item added to the 
2009 agenda of the working group. 
11.  Comment: The CNGO's contentious 2008 sessions show the 
extent to which some members of the CNGO tend to make 
decisions based on political considerations rather than the 
merits of the NGOs applying for accreditation.  This was 
particularly evident in Cuba's virulent opposition to the 
Human Rights Foundations's application.  Under these 
circumstances, overturning the CNGO's decision against the 
Foundation will be an uphill battle. 


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