ORGANIZATION FOR THE ELIMINATION OF ALL FORMS OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION
5 route des Morillons, CP 2100. 1211 Geneva 2, Switzerland
Telephone & Fax: 788.62.33
COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS
Fifty - ninth
session (17 March - 25 April 2003)
Promotion and protection of human rights (b) Human rights defenders
nongovernmental organizations, are encouraged to address effective ways
for the future coordination and organization of the work of the
Commission on Human Rights. Under
the increasing pressure on everyone year after year, we appeal for a
serious re-examination, especially in relation to calling for more
fairness toward organizations and the treatment of their
representatives, the defenders of human rights.
Our organization is deeply concerned about the growing injustice
that is affecting nongovernmental organizations lately.
We recall better times of more appreciation and respect for the
contribution NGOs made at the UN, when each organization with
Consultative Status was assigned a reserved seat with its name tag, and
when speakers had equal speaking time to that of governmental
Gradually, NGOs are losing even direct access as observers during
meetings. We no longer have
assigned seats and the majority of us have to stand at the end of the
conference room waiting for our turn to speak. We are given two to four minutes to speak, whereas
government/member speakers get at least double the speaking time.
is an unacceptable situation. It
contradicts the United Nations Charter, which states:
“WE THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED NATIONS”
It is obvious that the U.N. Charter addresses the people not the
governments, and nongovernmental organizations serve a greater role as
the true representatives of the people.
We meet here today to defend human rights, but we defend human
rights against whom?? Is it not against some of the governments that violate these
rights?? Thus, who must be
heard in these meetings: nongovernmental organizations or governments?
We are not against governments or trying to settle a conflict.
All we are asking this Commission for is equal treatment of
representatives of NGOs and governments to correct this unbalanced