Agenda Item 5: General Debate:
- Human rights bodies and mechanisms
EAFORD and Geneva International Centre for Justice would like to bring this Council’s attention to the shrinking NGO space at the United Nations and specifically at the UN Human Rights Council.
With respect to the UN Charter and the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) that calls for effective NGO contributions, UN Resolution 60/251 of the General Assembly acknowledges that, “non-governmental organisations play an important role at the national, regional, and international levels, in the promotion and protection of human rights”; this role must be reflected at the HRC.
However, NGO registration to attend and contribute to the HRC contains several barriers most notably accessible internet access. Civil society members and organisations, particularly in developing countries, have limited to no internet access, and therefore, people in the most vulnerable situations suffer drawbacks and discrimination with regards to effective participation at the HRC Sessions.
Furthermore, there is a shared concern regarding the NGO oral statement online registration process, which we believe could be much improved and unprejudiced with increased transparency. Additionally, the limited number of accredited individuals, currently standing at 15, who wish to attend or participate at a side-event is not mentioned in the Practical Guide for NGO Participants and warrants addressing. Lastly, seating space for NGOs has steadily declined.
We thus recommend enhanced and accessible communication in all UN languages between the Council and civil society towards collective and practical solutions.