Posts Tagged ‘NGO access’

ISHR: new report on reprisals and restrictions against NGO participation in the UN

June 8, 2018

There are many different approaches States employ to keep critical voices out of multilateral spaces. ISHR’s new report of 30 May 2018 [The Backlash Against Civil Society Access and Participation at the United Nations] outlines what these are and provides a road map for States and UN representatives to prevent and counter reprisals and restrictions on civil society participation in UN processes.

Civil society has the right to ‘unhindered access to and communication with international bodies’. However, that right is not being respected.  ISHR’s new report, ‘The Backlash Against Civil Society Access and Participation at the United Nations‘ documents a broad range of obstacles faced by human rights defenders, from opaque bureaucracies and procedures to physical threats and attacks.

States decide who gets through the door,’ said ISHR’s Eleanor Openshaw.  ‘States that fear calls for accountability and justice do what they can to prevent civil society access to and participation in UN spaces’. Opaque practices and procedures provide covers for States seeking to block NGO entry.  An NGO seeking to participate in a UN high-level event can be a victim of the ‘no-objection’ procedure.  This is the means by which any State can veto their participation without being named or providing any justification. ‘The no-objection procedure is poorly defined, and provides no formal criteria for objections to NGO participation,’ said ISHR’s John Indergaard. ‘It’s carte blanche to exclude legitimate NGOs for illegitimate reasons.

Even when civil society representatives make it into an actual UN building, they have been thrown out without explanation or asked to leave while events were ongoing. At some high-level events and committee meetings, NGO representatives have been barred from giving statements or bringing in documents related to their work. Physical attacks and intimidation against those seeking to coöperate with the UN are well documented.

These restrictions and reprisals are all aimed at dissuading civil society participation,’ said Openshaw. ‘They need to be challenged in each and every case.’

I have published many posts on the issue of reprisals [https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/tag/reprisals/] starting with https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2014/03/13/zero-tolerance-for-states-that-take-reprisals-against-hrds-lets-up-the-ante/

Click on the video below to get an insight into the report:

Women human rights defenders want to be taken serious by UN body

June 15, 2015

Some 325 organisations have signed up to a joint Statement which expresses outrage at the way that they have been excluded from both the negotiation of the political declaration and the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) Methods of Work resolution. [http://www.wave-network.org/content/nothing-about-us-without-us-statement-csw-methods-work-resolutions].

BACKGROUND:
The UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) each year provides a global platform for exchange and networking for women’s organizations working on furthering women’s rights all across the world, but this year’s session (March) was also the occasion to present the ‘Future organization and methods of work of the CSW which provides less space to NGOs to influence the outcomes of the session, through increasingly limited access to official negotiations and space to contribute to outcome documents.  It seems that governments are intent limiting the (sometimes) robust participation of non-governmental organizations, restrict recognition of the human rights of women and girls and the norm-setting role of the CSW in this regard and skirt responsibility for implementing the Sustainable Development Goals.

The statement says: “It seems they are intent on discussing everything about us, without us….Let us be clear: we do not come to the CSW to attend side events. We come to the CSW to hold our governments to account to the commitments they have made to guarantee gender equality, eliminate all forms of discrimination and violence against us and achieve the full realization of all of our human rights. We come to the CSW to advance progressive policies that, if implemented, will make a meaningful difference in our lives. If the CSW no longer provides us with a forum for policy change and accountability that fully involves us, we will stay at home.

Website Link which includes the 325 organizations that signed the Statement:
http://www.dawnnet.org/feminist-resources/sites/default/files/articles/nothing_about_us_without_us_0.pdf

via: http://www.wunrn.com