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States should reject procedure that results in exclusion of non-government organisations from UN
Friday, 01 February 2013 21:58

 

A group of leading international human rights organisations, including the International Service for Human Rights and Amnesty International, have called on the UN to ensure that non-government organisations are not excluded from key UN meetings.

 

The call was made in response to a resolution proposing that an NGO could be excluded from a high-level international meeting on immigration and development if any state objected to the participation of that NGO on any grounds whatsoever.

 

“Non-government and civil society organisations have a critical role to play at the UN, ensuring that the voices of people on the ground are heard and understood. This is particularly the case on issues such as migration, poverty alleviation and development, where NGOs are the experts,” said Madeleine Sinclair of the International Service for Human Rights.

 

The proposal to exclude any NGO on the basis of any objection by any state reflects a concerning trend to restrict NGO access at the UN.

 

“Unfortunately the 'no-objection' procedure has become prevalent in a range of meetings at UN headquarters in recent years,” said Ms Sinclair.

 

“The ‘no-objection’ procedure is severely flawed. Its arbitrary and ad-hoc nature not only risks excluding relevant and valuable voices, but can also lead to censorship and politically motivated exclusion of critical voices,” she said.

 

“Despite rhetoric supporting the vital role that civil society plays within the UN, the procedure flouts basic principles of accountability, transparency and due process.”

 

The International Service for Human Rights deeply regrets that, despite the NGO letter, the resolution providing for the exclusion of NGOs was passed by the UN General Assembly. “ISHR calls on all states to reflect on the valuable role of NGOs in promoting and protecting human rights and to ensure that civil society organisations can meaningfully participate in and contribute to UN General Assembly processes.”

 

 

Last Updated on Friday, 01 February 2013 22:11
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