Puente Democrático
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Dictatorships block CADAL’s application for UN consultative status
July 3, 2014
Last May 28th, the UN Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations considered the applications for consultative status of more than a hundred organizations. CADAL’s was the only application closed after being subjected to a roll call vote by request of the delegate of Cuba. Gabriel Salvia, head of CADAL, stated that “the rejection of our organizations’ request for consultative status is another example of who rule the UN”.

With the task of evaluating the applications presented by non-governmental organizations, the 19 members committee recommends general, special or roster status on the basis of such criteria as the applicant’s mandate, governance and financial regime. Non-governmental organizations enjoying general and special status can attend meetings of the Economic and Social Council and issue statements, while those with general status can also speak during meetings and propose agenda items. Organizations with roster status can only attend meetings.

On this regard, the UN Department of Public Information informed in its website that: “The Committee closed the application of Fundación Centro para la Apertura y el Desarrollo de América Latina ( Argentina)”. The communication1 states, regarding CADAL, that “Cuba’s delegate said the organization carried out subversive activities in violation of the United Nations Charter, and therefore, should not be granted consultative status”. On his turn, “The representative of the United States requested that the application be deferred to the next session, following which, Cuba’s delegate requested a decision on the application through a roll call vote”.

The result of the vote on whether to grant status to CADAL was 10 against, 3 in favour and 3 abstentions. The countries that voted against the consultative status request of CADAL were Cuba, China, Russia, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Sudan, Burundi, India, Pakistan and Senegal. Voting in favour were Bulgaria, Israel and United States; and the abstentions were Belguim, Morroco and Peru. Three of the 19 member states of the Committee were absent: Mozambique, Turkey and Kyrgyzstan. The UN statement adds that “Speaking in explanation of vote, Belgium’s delegate said he had abstained because not enough time had been given to review that Gabriel Salvia, head of CADAL, stated that “the rejection of our organizations’ request for consultative status is another example of who rule the UN. With this composition of the Committee, with a majority of dictatorships and low quality democracies, it was impossible to receive the approval for consultative status. It is striking that three of the four representatives from Latin America in the Committee belong to the anti-democratic ALBA block”. Salvia added that “the UN should be honest and start replacing the phrase in its website and where it says ‘people’ they should write “States”, since human person is without any doubt not the main subject of international law for this entity”.

However, CADAL’s chairman received this setback as a triumph: “we are proud to know that our work bothers the dictatorships and their allies, meaning that we are being successful in our task of international promotion of democratic solidarity”. Salvia concluded saying that “our main challenge is to achieve that the developed democracies adopt an active foreign policy in human rights and stop being demagogic on that regard”.

CADAL had sent its consultative status request to the UN on 2012, with the inclusion of all the legal and accounting documents translated into English. Later, in 2013 when the reviewing process began in the Committee, CADAL started receiving communications soliciting additional information on its activities until it finally received allegations with the neat seal of the Cuban dictatorship.

For instance, in the 22nd session meeting that took place on May 22nd, the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations reviewed CADAL application for consultative status at the ECOSOC and regarding CADAL’s activities the Committee stated the following:

- CADAL is involved in activities against the political, constitutional and legal system of some Member States contrary to the spirit, purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations

- CADAL is engaged in politically motivated activities against some Member States, including at the international level (organized a parallel event to the Second Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) held in Havana in 2014, with the intention of making this intergovernmental meeting fail);

- CADAL’s publications, information campaigns and your website contain unsubstantiated and politically motivated attacks against some Member States and other materials de facto constituting interference in the internal affairs of some Member States, including materials to discredit the constitutional and political system and leadership of Cuba.

In its response sent on May 28th, CADAL expressed the following:

- Exercising the universal human rights to freedoms of association, expression and assembly, acknowledged by the UN in the 1948 Declaration and later in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, CADAL formulates critics to the governments representing the UN member states where their political, constitutional and legal systems severely repress the exercise of fundamental democratic freedoms. This is the same that other NGOs with consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council, several member states when participating in the interactive dialogue during the universal periodic review at the UN Human Rights Council and the compilations done by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, do. At the same time, CADAL expresses solidarity to and supports those who peacefully claim so that the authorities in their country arise according to article 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and those trying to exercise the freedom of association, expression and assembly in UN member states where the government criminalizes these rights.

- Regarding the political motivation of our organization in activities against some member states and specially the organization of an event parallel to the Second Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) held in Havana in January 2014, CADAL expressed surprise and categorically rejected the accusation that its Alternative Forum was intended to make this inter-governmental meeting fail. The organization of the “II Democratic Forum on International Relations and Human Rights” was convened as an alternative space to the CELAC Summit in Havana to analyze “the CELAC special declaration in defense of democracy and its incompatibility with the one party political system in Cuba”. There were 30 participants confirmed, it was going to take place in a private home and several members of the foreign diplomatic corps accredited in Cuba had confirmed their attendance. It is hard to understand how an activity with these characteristics, in exercise of the human right to freedom of assembly and expression, in a private home in which would gather less than 50 persons, could cause the failure of the intergovernmental meeting. On the other hand, CADAL had precedents in similar activities that took place in total normalcy and that in no way affected the host states, and the participants, the same as the entities, paid no attention to these alternative events. The contrary happened in Cuba last January, where with total impunity its government obscenely violated the human rights to freedom of assembly and expression in view of all the international community. This was reported by the prestigious organization Amnesty International. 

- Referring to the allegation that the publications, information campaigns and website of CADAL contain unsubstantiated and politically motivated attacks against some Member States, including materials to discredit the constitutional and political system and leadership of Cuba, CADAL expressed the following: The content of CADAL’s publications is based on sources of prestigious international human rights organizations, such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and Freedom House, and the complication by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the governments of member states that our organization consider that severely repress civic and political liberties. In the case of Cuba, it was the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights who expressed concern “for the restriction of the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful meeting” and even recommended Cuba to modify its constitution. Regarding the leadership of the government representing the state of Cuba before the UN, our organization has been very consistent in pointing it out, using objective information like its constitution, its criminal code, the sentences of its popular courts and the incomparable international activism that this small and impoverished country unfolds, using nothing but its official internet websites. All this information, taken from the state of Cuba, is irrefutable proof of this country’s leadership in the violation of human rights and its open opposition to the established by the articles 2, 3, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 17, 19, 20, 21, 23, 26, 28, 29 and 30 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights approved by the United Nation on December 10th 1948.

Closing the responses to the allegations by the Committee of Non-Governmental Organizations CADAL requested that the false allegations by the Cuban state be dismissed, since Cuba pretends to internationalize the exercise of repression of universal human rights to freedom of association, expression, meeting and petitioning.

The ECOSOC press release regarding the rest of the applications

Among the more than one hundred requests, the UN Committee of Non-Governmental Organizations recommended two US based organizations for special consultative status before the Economic and Social Council, deferred action on four candidates and closed the postulation of 30, concluding its work at the resume session.

Recapping the session, Gizem Sucuoğlu ( Turkey) said the Committee had recommended special consultative status to 101 of the new applicants and deferred action on 50 others. Fifty-seven organizations deferred from previous sessions were recommended for special consultative status, with 132 applications deferred again, one closed (CADAL) and two withdrawn. Also deferred were two new requests and one pending request for reclassification. Regarding the new quadrennial reports, the Committee took note of 91, and deferred two. Note was also taken of a previously deferred quadrennial report, but 33 others were again deferred.

Rounding the meeting, the Committee adopted the provisional agenda for 2015, approving dates for its regular session from 26 January to 3 February and 13 February, and for the resumed session from 26 May to 3 June and 12 June.

Committee Rapporteur, Ana Pena (Peru), introduced the draft report for the 2014 resumed session. The Committee will reconvene on Friday, 6 June, to adopt it.

Special Consultative Status: The Committee recommended that the Economic and Social Council grant special consultative status to two United States-based organizations: Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain Inc. and John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

Action Postponed: The Committee postponed action on the following applications:

- Freedom Now ( United States) — as China’s delegate asked the organization to provide the theoretical definition of prisoners of conscience;

- International Dalit Solidarity Network ( Denmark) — as India’s representative said his delegation was awaiting responses to its previous questions regarding the status of its projects;- Stichting Samenwerkingsverband IKV — Pax Christi ( Netherlands) — as Sudan’s delegate requested more time to review its application;

- Mittetulundusühing Fenno-Ugria Asutus ( Estonia) — as the Russian Federation’s delegate sought details on the Conference on National Restoration it had held.

Applications Closed: Besides CADAL’s the Committee also closed the application of the following organizations that did not respond to the last three reminders as of May 28th:

Asia Catalyst; Network for North Korean Democracy and Human Rights; Himalayan Consensus Institute Limited; All India Dhanak Organisation; Asociación Internacional de Juristas por el Sáhara Occidental; Arab Center for the Development of the Rule of Law and Integrity; Climate Parliament; Center for Military Human Rights, KOREA; Database Center for North Korean Human Rights; Fundación Interamericana para el Desarrollo de la Gestión Social; Small and Medium Scale Entrepreneurship Fundamentals Foundation; The Teddy Bear Clinic for Abused Children; Help Age India; Kitachosen Nanmin Kyuen Kikin; National Integrated and Development Association; Right for Women''s Network; Confederazione Italiana Sindacati Lavoratori C.I.S.L.; Women Right and Development Centre; Gold Mercury International Limited; The Tandana Foundation Inc.; University of Worcester; Viešoji istaiga Žmogaus teisiu stebejimo institutas; Youth Network on HIV/AIDS in Nigeria; Maria and Liberdade Foundation; Science House Foundation; The Royal Society of Chemistry; Kelab Belia Subang Jaya; Gusenghwe Inc.; and Galdu Kompetansesenter for Urfolks Rettigheter.

Before the consideration of CADAL’s application, Belgium’s delegate said “she was pleased to see the higher approval rate, but expressed regret that the applications of many human rights organizations continued to be blocked by some delegations”.

(1) http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs//2014/ecosoc6619.doc.htm