Skip to main content

Govt of India "blocking" international Dalit network to freely associate with UN for eight long years: NGO letter

By Our Representative
More than 230 NGOs have called on members of the UN’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) to reform the practice of the Committee of NGOs that prevents certain human rights organisations, including the International Dalit Solidarity Network (IDSN), from associating freely with the United Nations (UN).
IDSN, posting a statement on its website, said, “This practice has turned the ECOSOC Committee on NGOs from a largely administrative body into a stumbling block for NGO access to the UN." 
It added, "One of the most extreme examples of obstruction is IDSN’s application for consultative status with ECOSOC. It has been effectively blocked for the past eight years by India, which has asked more than 70 questions in order to delay the process”.
Executive Director of IDSN, Rikke Nohrlind, has been quoted as saying that there is “huge importance to NGOs of being granted access to participate in UN discussions”.
Nohrlind said, “For eight years, we have been barred from freely associating with the UN. With ECOSOC status, we can present statements, get accreditation for our group, for example to the Human Rights Council, and organise side-events at UN fora.”
“Without it, opportunities to discuss the impact of and solutions to the horrific human rights and development challenges brought about by caste discrimination will be lost,” she added.
The joint letter was timed to coincide with the second 2016 session of the ECOSOC Committee on NGOs in New York, which will run until June 2.
Eleanor Openshaw of the International Service for Human Rights (ISHR) has called the letter “a powerful statement of concern by NGOs from around the world about restrictions to their participation in the UN and in solidarity with those whose participation is being restricted.”
Openshaw said, there were “widespread NGO concerns regarding the practices of the Committee on NGOs”, adding, “The meeting room was filled with NGO representatives keen to demonstrate their concerns, and Observer States were also in greater attendance than is usually the case.”
Openshaw noted, “Unfortunately, in too many instances the Committee is reflective of the growing restrictions on civil society at the very time restrictions at the national level make access to the UN all the more crucial.”
“We request that the Committee redouble its efforts to promote a safe, transparent and enabling environment for civil society at the UN. By fostering such an environment, the UN can take full advantage of the particular expertise and insights provided by NGOs and enhance the legitimacy and credibility of its own work,” she pleaded.
The letter, signed by 230 civil society groups, sent to member states of ECOSOC, with copies to Chair of the Committee on NGOs, President of the General Assembly, and President of the Human Rights Council, said, they were “concerned about recent actions taken by the Committee suggesting it functions in a politicised manner, particularly in regard to its consideration of applications for consultative status from human rights organisations.”
Calling on UN Member States to “ensure that the Committee upholds and respects the rights to freedom of expression and association and accords due process to all applicants for consultative status”, the letter said, already, several several States have “criticised the practice of the Committee in ECOSOC meetings.”
“In 2015, Chile, Mexico and Uruguay, as well as the European Union, expressed strong concerns about the recent politicisation of the work of the Committee, in which some Committee members use procedural tactics to block certain organisations from being granted consultative status”, the letter said.

Comments

TRENDING

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

WHO move can 'enable' India to detain citizens, restrict freedom, control media

Counterview Desk  In an an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, with copies to concerned Cabinet ministers, bureaucrats and MPs,  health rights network  People’s Alliance for Public Health (PAPH alias JanSwasthya Morcha), has urged that India should not be a signatory to the World Health Organization ( WHO) Pandemic Agreement and Amendments to the  International Health Regulations (IHR) 2005  to be adopted at the 77th World Health Assembly in Geneva from 27th May to 1st June, 2024.

'Enough evidence': Covid vaccines impacted women's reproductive health

By Deepika*  In 2024, the news outlets have suddenly started reporting about covid vaccine side effects in a very extensive manner. Sadly, the damage is already done.

Can scientists believe in God, yet explore nature 'abandoning' belief?

By Dr TV Sajeev*  In August 2023, India celebrated the successful soft-landing of Chandrayan on the south pole of the moon. That mission too led to some questioning about whether scientists could believe in God. The culture of temple visits and poojas before the launch of rockets with or without payload had been a mocking point for a long while. 

Growing stream of pollution infecting homes, bodies in US, Vietnam

By Erica Cirino*  Louisiana’s “River Parishes,” located along the Mississippi River between New Orleans and Baton Rouge, shoulder some of the worst industry impacts in the United States. As a result, this region has acquired a grim reputation as “ Cancer Alley .” 

'Uncertainty in Iran': Raisi brokered crucial Chabahar Port deal with India

By Pranjal Pandey*  Ebrahim Raisi, the Iranian President, and the country’s foreign minister were tragically found deceased on May 20, 2024, shortly after their helicopter crashed in foggy conditions. In response, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei swiftly appointed a relatively unknown vice president as the interim leader.

Informal, outdoor workers 'excluded': Govt of India's excessive heat policies

Counterview Desk  Top civil rights network, National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM), has demanded urgent government action to protect millions of outdoor workers from extreme heat and heatwaves, insisting declaration of heatwaves as climatic disaster.