3 Problems with the Committee on NGOs
Grants UN accreditation to numerous fake human rights groups and dangerous entities. In 2015, the 19-nation Committee recognized the “Palestine Return Center” which is affiliated with the Hamas terrorist organization. Thinly-veiled front groups for the Chinese government have also won UN accreditation from the Committee, including the “China Association for Preservation and Development of Tibetan Culture,” which spied on UN Watch speaker Ti-Anna Wang at the March 2014 Human Rights Council session. Another is the “China NGO Network for Exchange,” which uses its platform to praise Beijing’s human rights record. Finally, the Committee accredited “North-South XXI,” the Qaddafi-funded NGO that awarded the “Moammar Qaddafi Prize for Human Rights” to antisemites and dictators, from Louis Farrakhan and Roger Garaudy to Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez.
Uses procedural tactics to stall or deny requests for consultative status of credible NGOs whose work addresses significant human rights concerns. China is particularly notorious for engaging in such practices. In September 2021, Foreign Policy published an expose describing the situation: “China is the most active country in stalling NGO applications at the United Nations, even if the organizations engage in the most innocuous and uncontroversial activities. China is not content to control civil society within its own borders. Given the role of NGOs in advancing human rights globally and drawing attention to China’s human rights crimes, Beijing is working hard to shrink the space for these groups internationally.” Another example is from July 2008 when the NGO Committee denied accreditation to Human Rights Foundation (HRF), with Cuba calling the organization’s board member, Cuban dissident Armando Valladares, a “terrorist.” Closely aligned Ecuador labeled HRF a “terrorist organization.”
Harasses UN-accredited human rights NGOs like Freedom House, postponing approval of their quadrennial reports by requiring them to respond to frivolous questions about their UN activities every six months. In addition, it applies punitive measures against individual NGOs that engage in activities that conflict with a Committee member’s government position. This can result in a multiyear suspension of status or permanent withdrawal of accreditation.