Question of Palestine home
Economic and Social Council
10 February 1999
Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations
Item 4 of the provisional agenda
Review of quadrennial reports submitted
by non-governmental organizations in general and special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council
Quadrennial reports, 1994–1997, submitted through the Secretary-General
pursuant to Economic and Social Council resolution 1996/31
Note by the Secretary-General
9. International Movement for Fraternal Union among Races and Peoples (UFER)
(Special consultative status granted 1953)
Aims and purposes of UFER
The International Movement for Fraternal Union among Races and Peoples (UFER) was established in 1952 with the following objectives:
(a) Affirm the unity of human nature;
(b) Affirm the fundamental equality of all races, of all peoples and of all cultures, and work towards the advancement of a genuine international community;
(c) Believe in the efficacy of spiritual values to promote comprehension and collaboration among peoples; however, the Movement is non-confessional;
(d) Reject every method inspired by hatred, its doctrine being a doctrine of peace in justice and love;
(e) Promote the aims and objectives of the United Nations.
Its outreach and affiliation has expanded since its creation with individuals and groups as members from Asia, Africa, America and Europe. During the reporting period, its membership has increased to 35 countries. Its funding resources, being exclusively annual membership fees, UFER’s revenue increases together with its new affiliates.
The General Assembly, which was held in August 1997, elected the new members of the Executive Board for a term of four years. A general plan of action was adopted, with the main focus on the elimination of racism and the promotion of human rights and peace. UFER activities are related to those of the United Nations in the area of the promotion of equality among races and of peace.
Participation in world conferences
Since UFER had actively participated in the World Conference on Human Rights at Vienna in 1993, it also took part in world conferences organized by the United Nations in the period 1994–1997.
International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) held at Cairo in 1994
, UFER delegates took part in the various consultations, presentations and workshops at the main conference and at parallel NGO activities.
The World Summit for Social Development
, held at Copenhagen from 6 to 12 March 1995, was a forum at which UFER representatives were present to take part in the conference and the activities of the non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
In the preparation processes of the
Fourth World Conference on Women
, UFER was actively taking part in meetings held in New York, Amman, Dakar and Vienna. During the Beijing Conference and NGO Forum, UFER was represented by its delegates from Asia, Africa, America and Europe. Several statements and communications related to racism were made at the NGO forum. Representative exchanged experiences, networked and lobbied. UFER was also present at the main Conference, using its consultative status.
Human rights activities
UFER attended regularly the sessions of the
Commission on Human Rights
and that of its subsidiary bodies the Subcommission on Human Rights and Subcommission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities. Between 1994 and 1997, statements on human rights were made in relation to the situation in the following countries: Haiti, Equatorial Guinea, the Republic of the Congo, Algeria, Rwanda, Ethiopia and the Sudan. The question of kidnapping and disappearance of children in Argentina was raised at the sessions of both bodies during the reporting period. Interventions were also made on the right to development and the elimination of poverty as basic human rights. The effect of the devaluation of the CFA franc on poverty and the economic situation in West Africa was raised by UFER. The transition of South Africa to democracy was of special interest to UFER, and its position was expressed to the Commission.
UFER has been present at the session of the
Commission on the Status of Women
in New York, upholding the principles of the indivisibility of human rights principles. UFER takes an active part in the promotion of women’s human rights through statements, lobbying and networking.
UFER is involved in work related to the
Convention on the Rights of the Child
. It issues statements on the implementation of the Convention, and participates in workshops on children and on situations of conflict, child labour and the girl child.
Cooperation with specialized agencies
UFER used its special relationship with
to take part in a conference on peace, development and tolerance held from 5 to 8 October 1994. It also followed regular sessions of UNESCO and communicated its observations. UFER has published news relative to the WHO/NGO consultation held in February 1998 at Dakar.
Joint activities with other NGOs
UFER is a member of the NGO Committee on Human Rights. It takes part in the regular meeting focusing on the issue of racial discrimination within the Committee of the Status of Women, a subsidiary body of the NGO Committee on Human Rights. UFER coordinates a working group on traditional practices affecting women and children. It has worked actively to raise awareness of the problem of female genital mutilation as a form of violence against women. The working group is composed of 26 NGOs in consultative status with the Council. UFER, together with concerned NGOs, continues to lobby in favour of girls who suffer from the ritual of mutilation. Progress reports are compiled and regularly presented in the NGO Committee on the Status of Women. UFER is also a member of the NGO Committee on Development.
UFER publishes a newsletter 4 times a year in English and French. Topics included:
(a) Sessions of the Commission on Human Rights and its subcommission;
(b) News from UNESCO;
(c) Situation in Rwanda;
(d) UNICEF news;
(e) Rights of women;
(h) Question of Palestine;
(i) Democracy and peace;
(j) Culture and development;
(k) The girl child;
(m) Habitat II;
(n) Fighting harmful traditional practices.
The publication is part of UFER’s contribution to publicizing the work of the United Nations system to promote human rights. Since its members are widely distributed, such information is vital, especially for those who haven’t had the opportunity to follow international conferences and decisions made. The newsletter is also distributed to the United Nations Secretariat and specialized agencies.
Consultation with the United Nations Secretariat
Regular consultations are held with the United Nations NGO Liaison Office at Geneva and New York and with other officials in substantive departments, such as the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Division for the Advancement of Women and UNICEF.
UFER organized a training session on the importance of NGOs in the process of globalization, particularly in building alliance with grass-roots associations which are directly affected by current economic realities. Some 30 participants from 15 countries were invited to participate in the training session, which took place at Geneva. The head of the NGO Liaison Office was requested to make a presentation on the mechanisms, the operations and the activities of the United Nations. NGO/United Nations working relationships were also explained and discussed.
The International Movement for Fraternal Union among Races and Peoples (UFER) intends to continue its efforts to promote peace, justice and understanding among peoples in collaboration with the United Nations and other NGOs.
10. International Organization for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (EAFORD)
(Special consultative status granted 1981)
Objectives and principles
The purpose of the organization is humanitarian, emanating from the principle of the equality in dignity and rights of all human beings and people. The specific principles and objectives of the organization are set forth in the Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. The organization adopts all legitimate means of contributing to the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination everywhere, and attempts to organize efforts for that purpose to ensure a greater measure of effectiveness, including the following:
(a) Collection of information and preparation of studies and references on racism in general and the dissemination thereof;
(b) Development of awareness of the racist problem and its danger to the human community, human dignity and world peace through publications, conferences, seminars and other means;
(c) Confirmation of the moral and human values of equality and justice without discrimination;
(d) Exposure of the interrelationship between racism, colonialism and imperialism;
(e) Cooperation and support with efforts of NGOs engaged in combating racism and racial discrimination;
(f) Performance of such other activities as may contribute to greater understanding among people on the basis of equal worth and dignity of all human beings. For example, EAFORD occasionally grants fellowship awards to graduate students, and presents an international award for the promotion of human understanding.
As it has done over the past two decades, EAFORD continues to engage in a number of activities and projects, often in cooperation with the United Nations or other NGOs concerned with human rights and the elimination of racial discrimination. All the activities of EAFORD are directed towards the realization of the objectives of the United Nations by fighting discrimination in all fields. These activities during the period under review included:
(a) Convening seminars and conferences under joint auspices with universities, NGOs and the United Nations on racism and racial discrimination in general, as well as on self-determination of Palestinians and rights and conditions of indigenous peoples, in Geneva, the Middle East, New York, Vienna, Washington, Latin America, Canada etc.;
(b) Participating through oral and written interventions in at least 200 conferences and seminars organized by NGOs and the United Nations and its agencies;
(c) EAFORD participated in the International Conference on Population and Development (Cairo, September 1994);
(d) EAFORD participated in the United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II) (Istanbul, June 1996);
(e) EAFORD participated in an international seminar on democracy, discrimination and terrorism at New Delhi in July 1996);
(f) EAFORD participated in all sessions of the Commission on Human Rights throughout 1994 to 1997;
(g) EAFORD participated in all sessions of the Subcommission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities during 1994 to 1997, especially under agenda items on self-determination, racism and racial discrimination, decolonization, and violations of human rights in any part of the world;
(h) EAFORD participated in the annual NGO symposium on the question of Palestine during 1994–1997;
(i) EAFORD serves on the Subcommittee on Racism, Racial Discrimination and Decolonization;
(j) EAFORD was and remains a member of the International Coordinating Committee of NGOs on the Question of Palestine;
(k) EAFORD was a member of the NGO Committee on Human Rights;
(l) EAFORD was and remains a member of the Conference of NGOs in Consultative Status with the Council;
(m) EAFORD published and publishes a biannual newsletter with “United Nations update” sections;
(n) EAFORD provides information to United Nations bodies, including committees and working groups dealing with specific questions on racism and racial discrimination, and submits observations and reports to many officials of the United Nations Secretariat, as well as to Special Rapporteurs and the United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights.
(o) EAFORD organized a panel on barriers to housing rights at a United Nations/NGO co-sponsored conference on sustainable housing in industrialized States (New York, 1 and 2 October 1990);
(p) EAFORD assisted in organizing a fact-finding mission to Palestine to investigate matters in connection with the Habitat International Coalition Campaign against Forced Eviction in 1990–1991;
(q) EAFORD was invited to take part in the human rights panel of a native housing rights conference (Sudbury, Ontario, 13–16 August 1990);
(r) EAFORD participated in conducting a briefing and a video presentation entitled “Jerusalem: an occupation set in stone?” and offered interviews on Jerusalem and the settlements to six news agencies, papers, radios and TVs during Habitat II;
(s) The Secretary-General of EAFORD, Anis Al-Qasem, at the request of the Palestine Liberation Organization after the signature of The Declaration of Principles, has prepared a draft basic law for the emerging Palestinian entity, which emphasized human rights and the rule of law on the basis of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the two International Covenants;
(t) Executive Council Member T. Ataov, who was previously given a medal of honour by President Yasser Arafat, in an international conference organized by the University of Bophuthatswana was presented again with a certificate in recognition of his publications, lectures and other activities in support of the rights of the indigenous African peoples. At Ankara University in Turkey, he had started by introducing courses on Africa and writing a textbook entitled
African National Liberation Movements
(about 750 pages). It is a massive compendium that took the liberation issue from 1918 up to the present, analysing it country by country and also continent-wise. But this was only part of Dr. Ataov’s much wider activity, including finishing recently a UNESCO study on discrimination as a source of conflict. He also assisted in organizing a visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina, and was an international observer at the 1997 national and provincial Pakistani elections, where he reported on a serious case of discrimination against the 22 million-strong Mohajir (refugees) population;
(u) EAFORD’s Executive Council Member Charles Roach convened a regional meeting of the Pan African Movement at Toronto; participants from Angola, Nigeria, Guyana, the Bahamas and the United States came especially for the meeting in June 1993;
(v) Elmer Berger, EAFORD’s Executive Council Member, finished a book entitled
Peace for Palestine
. The book is a comprehensive review and a true mirror that reflects 50 years of struggle in defense of the rights of Palestinians;
(w) EAFORD received Award of Peace Messenger from the Secretary-General of the United Nations;
(x) EAFORD continued efforts of previous years to focus comparatively on Palestine, South Africa, former Yugoslavia, indigenous peoples and minorities.
EAFORD publications covered the following topics:
(a) The demolition of Palestinian homes and other structures by Israeli Authorities;
(b) Arms and infiltration: Israel in Latin America;
(c) Palestinian rights and Israeli institutionalized racism;
(d) Chronicle of institutionalized racism: Israel in Palestine;
(e) The debate on Zionism and racism;
(f) The facts on Zionism and racism;
(g) Applying anti-apartheid principles to the Middle East;
(h) International law and indigenous peoples organizations regarding Housing and habitat;
(i) State planning, development programme and indigenous groups;
(j) Religious orientation and racism;
(k) Jerusalem and the settlements;
(l) The question of Jerusalem in the post-cold war era.
The publications of EAFORD, as well as its newsletter,
(the EAFORD international journal on racial discrimination), special reports and studies, information sheets and bulletins, are sent regularly to United Nations offices and to 2,000 other NGOs and international and national offices and agencies. Information is continually provided regarding United Nations activities and the role which EAFORD plays in the work of the Organization, as well as the contact EAFORD maintains throughout the year with the United Nations.