Strengthening NGO participation and the right to freedom of association at the UN

22.04.2015
International Service for Human Rights

and

Australian Permanent Mission to the United Nations

invite you to a panel discussion on

Strengthening NGO participation and the right to freedom of association at the UN: Current challenges and opportunities for reform

 

Date: Wednesday 22 April 2015, 10.45am-12.15pm followed by a light lunch from 12.15pm-1.30pm

Venue: Australian Permanent Mission, Chemin des Fins 2, Grand-Saconnex, Switzerland

Please note: This event is by invitation only and registration by 15 April is essential. To request an invitation, please email events.geneva@dfat.gov.au.

This event will feature a panel of international human rights experts who will examine the importance of civil society engagement and participation at the UN, particularly in the Human Rights Council. The event will also launch a major new ISHR publication entitled 'A Practical Guide to the UN Committee on NGOs'.

Opening remarks

  • The Presidency of the Human Rights Council

Panelists

  • Marta Mauras, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Chile to the UN in Geneva
  • Rikke Nöhrlind, International Dalit Solidarity Network
  • Eleanor Openshaw, International Service for Human Rights
  • Jean-Daniel Vigny, international human rights expert and former Minister in the Swiss Missions to the UN in New York and Geneva

Moderator

  • John Quinn, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Australia to the UN in Geneva

For those unable to attend, we invite you to follow the event on Twitter @ISHRGlobal, using the hashtag #NGOaccess.

For further information please download the event flyer here.

Background

In his most recent report to the General Assembly, Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Assembly and Association Maina Kiai said ‘strong civil society participation is essential for multilateral institutions’ effectiveness’. His report documents a range of ways in which the UN is falling short in this regard, including through an accreditation process for NGOs – overseen by the Committee on NGOs in New York – which is ‘long, complex, costly, beyond the capability of many small civil society organisations, and impossible to obtain for informal organisations and grass-roots networks’. The report also documents ways in which the accreditation process has resulted in the systematic exclusion of human rights NGOs, particularly those working on minority rights, women’s rights, sexual orientation and gender identity.

This event will discuss the importance of civil society engagement and participation at the UN, particularly in the Human Rights Council, and the need to ensure accreditation processes are transparent, non-discriminatory, expeditious and compatible with the right to freedom of association. The event will also launch a major new Practical Guide on the UN Committee on NGOs and discuss ways and opportunities to better enable civil society engagement at the UN.