NGO committee civil society

ECOSOC and the NGO Committee

The Committee on NGOs oversees the implementation of ECOSOC resolution 1996/31, which is the legal framework governing civil society participation in the work of the UN. The Committee is tasked with considering the applications of NGOs for consultative status with the UN, and makes recommendations to the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), which can accept or overturn a decision.

Consultative status provides NGOs with access to a range of fora at the UN, including the Human Rights Council, ECOSOC and its subsidiary bodies, UN conferences, and events organised by the President of the General Assembly.

ISHR works to facilitate the accreditation of human rights NGOs, in particular those dealing with sexual orientation and gender identity, women’s rights, reproductive rights, minority issues, and freedom of expression and association.

ISHR runs campaigns advocating for improvement in the functioning and membership of the Committee and for the accountability of its members to the principles of the UN Charter and ECOSOC Resolution 1996/31. We also provide strategic advice and support to NGOs seeking accreditation by the Committee on NGOs, and to NGOs subject to disciplinary sanctions by the Committee.

Latest Updates

NGO Forum | Implementation of the African Commission’s decision on the rights of the Endorois indigenous people of Kenya

To date, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights’ (the African Commission) recommendations to the Kenyan Government on reparations for the eviction of Endorois indigenous people from their ancestral lands in the 1970s remain largely unimplemented. On 13 April 2021, the NGO Forum met to discuss the status of the implementation of the African Commission’s 2010 decision 276/2003 on the rights of the Endorois people.

NGO Committee | States must facilitate not impede access for NGOs

The ECOSOC Committee on NGOs has just completed its first 2021 session after two postponed sessions due to Covid-19 restrictions. Failing to move with the times, the Committee did not allow for virtual participation of NGOs in Q&As, something States called out and which must be addressed at the next session in August.

Chinese Human Rights Monitor 2021 l May Edition

The International Service for Human Rights (ISHR) publishes yearly Chinese Human Rights Monitors (CHRM), aiming to support Chinese human rights defenders and civil society working on human rights in China in acceding to the UN human rights mechanisms.

Hong Kong | UN committee raises questions about National Security Law, police violence, and free speech

After reviewing reports from the Hong Kong government and wide range of Hong Kong and international civil society groups last month, UN experts tasked with monitoring human rights implementation compiled a list of hard questions. These pinpoint the need for clear answers on how Hong Kong and Beijing will act to protect and respect fundamental freedoms in the territory.

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Reprisals | New ISHR Policy Brief: Reprisals and the Security Council

Defenders are crucial to the work of the UN Security Council. They bring critical information and perspectives regarding human rights situations on the ground and the Security Council depends on that knowledge and input to make informed decisions. However, many defenders face unacceptable risks and are unable to cooperate safely with the Security Council. In a new Policy Brief, ISHR sheds light on the situation of intimidation and reprisals related to the engagement of human rights defenders with the Security Council and provides concrete recommendations on how to prevent and address reprisals and intimidation in relation to that engagement.