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UNITED
NATIONS
E

        Economic and Social Council
Distr.
GENERAL
E/2001/8
22 February 2001

English
Original: Arabic/Chinese/
English/French/Spanish

Resumed organizational session of 2001
3 and 4 May 2001
Agenda item 2
Adoption of the agenda and other organizational matters



Report of the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations
on its resumed 2000 session (New York, 15-26 January 2001)


Summary

At its 2000 resumed session, held from 15 to 26 January 2001, the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations had before it 147 applications for consultative status, including applications deferred from its 1998 and 1999 session and the first and second part of its 2000 session. Of those applications, the Committee recommended 52 applications for consultative status, did not recommend six organizations, deferred 87 organizations for further consideration at a later date and closed consideration of two applications. The Committee considered seven requests for reclassification of consultative status; it recommended two organizations for reclassification, deferred consideration of the reclassification of four organizations and recommended that one organization remain in the same category.

The Committee heard 17 representatives of non-governmental organizations, an unprecedented number, who were given the opportunity to respond to questions raised by the Committee. The additional information provided by the representatives facilitated the debate and the work of the Committee in taking its decisions.

The present report contains two draft decisions on matters calling for action by the Economic and Social Council. By draft decision I, the Council would:

(a) Grant consultative status to 52 non-governmental organizations which have applied;

(b) Reclassify two organizations from special to general consultative status;

(c) Not grant consultative status to six non-governmental organizations;

(d) Note that the Committee has decided to close consideration of the application of two non-governmental organizations;

(e) Take note that three cases of complaints submitted by States have been closed.


By draft decision II, the Council would take note of the present report.


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Draft decision II
Report of the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations on its resumed 2000 session

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Applications for consultative status deferred from previous sessions (1998 and 1999)

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Hadassah

19. At its 1999 session, the Committee, having reviewed the application and heard a representative of the organization respond to the questions posed by the Committee, had decided to defer consideration of the application, pending receipt of a written response from the organization to questions raised during the meeting. At its 2000 session, the Committee had decided to defer the application to the end of its session, pending clarification to questions posed by the Committee during the session, provided that a reply from the organization was received on time. An interim response had been received from the organization, informing the Committee that it could not respond to the questions posed by the Committee since its head staff was attending a board meeting abroad. One Committee member had then asked the organization to provide the Committee with a clear explanation for failing to attend the second part of its 2000 session. The Committee decided to defer consideration of the application on the understanding that the debate on the application would be finalized at its 2000 resumed session.


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31. The representative of the Syrian Arab Republic made the following statement:

“The delegation of the Syrian Arab Republic wishes to express its profound disappointment at the decision which the Committee has just taken. Syria, which has long played an active part in consultations between the United Nations and non-governmental organizations on the granting of consultative status, views this decision as a grave breach of the rules to which we agreed for the granting of consultative status to non-governmental organizations.

“The pressure applied by one Committee member to secure approval for this organization violates the letter and the spirit of the agreed rules. We believe that such practices are inconsistent with the most basic values which ought to guide our work and ensure the success of the Committee’s activities.

“Syria has consistently supported the process of consultations between the United Nations and non-governmental organizations as serving to strengthen the role of the United Nations and enrich the various aspects of its work. However, we once again affirm that the goals and activities of the Hadassah organization, which has received the approval of a majority of the Committee thanks to the enormous pressure exerted by a certain Member State, are inconsistent with the provisions of Council resolution 1996/31, insofar as the organization defends occupation against liberation and engages in racism which is denounced by the whole world.

“The organization also acts in violation of international resolutions and has utterly failed to abide by United Nations resolutions relating to the Middle East and the peace process, particularly General Assembly resolution 194 (III) and Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973). The documentation which the organization has provided clearly demonstrates its opposition to the Middle East peace process, particularly as regards the question of Jerusalem, one of the fundamental elements of that process.

“Blind prejudice in favour of this organization serves neither the aims of the United Nations nor international cooperation. Such practices only complicate matters. We should like to make it clear that this matter will not pass unnoticed, as certain parties might have hoped, and that Syria will not allow the process of consultations between the United Nations and non-governmental organizations to be brought into disrepute.

“We are clearly aware of the objectives behind the pressure which has been exerted. Anyone working for a just and comprehensive peace in the Middle East has to be just and impartial.

“My delegation reiterates its profound disappointment at this decision and reaffirms its commitment to the success of the Committee’s work, free from pressure and on the basis of just principles.”

32. The representative of Palestine stated that she had followed the work of the Committee for a long time. Its working methods had been transparent and followed the United Nations rules and procedures. Her delegation regretted that for the first time that approach had been violated, which would set an unfortunate precedent when taking action on other organizations. Hadassah was not just a humanitarian organization but also a political one. The organization took positions on policies that were contradictory to United Nations resolutions.

33. The representative of Chile said that the correct procedure had been followed in the consideration of Hadassah. His delegation had voted in favour of recommending status for the organization because it operated in keeping with the principles stipulated in Council resolution 1996/31.

34. The representative of Israel stated the following:

“I wish to express my gratitude to you and the members of this Committee for your important and courageous action taken here today in granting the Hadassah organization NGO consultative status within the United Nations. Although our delegation is most satisfied with the final outcome of today’s meeting, we remain outraged by certain statements made in the course of deliberations on this issue. We had hoped that the anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist rhetoric of the past had been erased. We had hoped that the singling out of Israel and Jewish organizations had become a thing of the past. We are saddened to discover that we were wrong. Thus, while we welcome the Committee’s decision, we categorically reject the statements of certain members, who prefer to perpetuate a fruitless campaign of defamation and propaganda. We sincerely hope that as we enter the new millennium, the United Nations will act to uproot the discriminatory elements from within this organization, and will continue to move forward towards fulfilling its mandate to resolve conflict and foster peace and understanding among all the peoples of the world, in accordance with its Charter.”

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