CRIN submitted its application for ECOSOC status in 2010. The Committee on NGOs reviews applications for ECOSOC status twice a year. Since then, we have been deferred every time by what we believe are tactics employed by some States to deny access to NGOs critical of governments. Of course CRIN is not alone in this.

In June 2014, after being deferred for a sixth time, we contacted other NGOs who had faced similar problems in order to write a joint open letter to the ECOSOC Committee to express our frustration and ask them to stop blocking legitimate human rights organisations from getting accreditation.

We did not receive an official response to our letter. Instead we were asked further questions, some of which had already been asked and answered before, some in relation to the actual letter. All, clearly as retribution for our open letter.

We have not responded to the latest questions.

We reported our concerns about the ECOSOC Committee to the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association who included information about our campaign in his report presented to the GA which focused on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association in the context of multilateral institutions [A/69/365].

In his report, the Special Rapporteur said he was “concerned that the Committee has on several occasions acted in a manner contrary to the spirit of resolution 1996/31. He was informed that the Committee has arbitrarily deferred applications for consultative status of NGOs, several for many years.”

As a recommendation, the Rapporteur “calls upon the United Nations specifically to: Reform the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations to prevent Member States from blocking accreditation applications with perpetual questioning and to unilaterally vetoing applications.”

What now? We will submit information to the Secretary-General for his annual report on reprisals against persons cooperating with UN human rights mechanisms.