Open letter

Open letter to ECOSOC Committee on NGOs

We, the undersigned group of civil society organisations from around the world, are writing to express our concern over the tactics used by Members of the ECOSOC NGO Committee in order to defer and deny accreditation to legitimate human rights NGOs.

We believe we have been persistently deferred over several years by being asked the same questions over and over, by being asked questions of a political nature, or by being asked questions that are not in line with the requirements for membership.

Under ECOSOC resolution 1996/31, the Committee on Non-Governmental Organisations is mandated to grant consultative status to those organisations whose aims and purposes are in “conformity with the spirit, purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations,” and which “undertake to support the work of the United Nations and to promote knowledge of its principles and activities.”

We believe that our organisations do fulfil these requirements and should therefore be granted consultative status.

It may be a further risk to our application, but we can no longer remain silent. We are frustrated and deeply concerned about the power States are wielding over those who speak out against human rights abuses. Transparency and legitimacy in the UN system are at stake if States are able to continue blocking access to NGOs they feel threatened by.

We are therefore calling on members of the Committee to:

- Stop blocking legitimate human rights organisations and recommend them for ECOSOC status;

- Review applications of organisations in line with ECOSOC resolution 1996/31;

- Develop working methods to ensure transparency and legitimacy, in line with the spirit of the United Nations; and

- Ensure that the United Nations Department of Public Information continues to provide coverage of the work of the Committee, as stated in ECOSOC resolution 1996/31.


Al-Marsad, the Arab Centre for Human Rights in the Golan Heights
Asian Centre for Human Rights
Business and Professional Women Voluntary Organization, Sudan
Child Rights International Network - CRIN*
Collectif des Familles de Disparu(e)s en Algérie
Global Network for Rights and Development (GNRD)
National Secular Society
International Dalit Solidarity Network
West Africa Centre for Peace Foundation
Virtual Activism