NGOs and UN Reform
The UN is a major source of funding for highly politicized NGOs. For example, the website for the Gaza section of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights includes the following information:
Assistance was provided to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) to support the establishment of a Women and Group Rights’ Unit, …. OHCHR has supported a similar effort in the West Bank within the organization LAW. Assistance provided to al-Mezan Centre for Human Rights, which focused on economic and social rights, to strengthen its fieldwork unit [sic]. OHCHR, Gaza is also assisting other non-governmental organizations to conduct work in the law reform area.
As NGO Monitor has shown, these and other NGOs supported by the OHCHR are active in the anti-Israel demonization campaigns and incitement.
“The UN-NGO Connection: Anti-semitism gets a global handshake”, Eye on the UN
”…the UN ought not to be in the business of providing links to websites encouraging anti-semitism or the destruction of a UN member state.”
NGOs listed on the accompanying UN “Question of Palestine” NGO database include B’Tselem, International Commission of Jurists, Medecins Sans Frontieres (Jerusalem), Oxfam (America, Quebec and United Kingdom), Palestine Children Relief Fund, Palestinian NGO Network, Save the Children, Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committees (UPMRC), World Alliance of YMCAs and World Vision International, as well as organs of the Lutheran, Presbyterian, Quaker, Methodist, and World Council of Churches, among others.
“Speakers at Caracas Meeting Explore Situation in Occupied Palestinian Territory”, UN Department of Public Information, December 14, 2005
”UN Conference Features a Call for the End of the Jewish State”, Eye on the UN
“Coordinator, Israeli Committee against House Demolitions, Jerusalem, Jeff Halper, told participants this afternoon at the United Nations Latin American and Caribbean Meeting on the Question of Palestine, that given the facts on the ground, a two-State solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was no longer viable.” As demonstrated by previous NGO Monitor analyses, ICAHD receives the bulk of its funding from the EU.
Briefing on NGOs and UN Reform – President of the UN General Assembly, United Nations Headquarters, December 16, 2005
The discussions on much needed UN reform include the role of NGOs. Through the sponsorship of such UN bodies as ECOSOC and the Human Rights Commission, NGOs have long enjoyed direct access and influence, although they lack the accountability of governments. In some cases, this influence has supported the UN in promoting peace (“NGOs Urge New UN Council to Bar Abusive Regimes”, UN Watch, November 22, 2005), but in other cases, NGOs have been sources of conflict, as in the Human Rights Commission and the 2001 UN Conference on Racism in Durban. On this basis, on December 16, Jan Eliasson, the President of the General Assembly, convened a briefing on NGOs and UN reform, with presentations from the co-chairs overseeing negotiations on Management and Secretariat Reform, ECOSOC Reform and Development, the nascent Human Rights Council, and General Assembly Revitalization. To view the briefing on UN Webcast, click here
For a summary of the proceedings, click here
Hillel C. Neuer, “The Struggle against Anti-Israel Bias at the UN Commission on Human Rights”, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, January 1, 2006
”The campaign to demonize Israel cripples the functioning of the UN…. The overt bias against one state undermines its credibility and integrity….It is to be hoped that many more UN officials, member states, NGOs, and others will take part in actively opposing this longstanding inequality.”
Warren Hoge, “Officials at U.N. Seek Fast Action on Rights Panel”, New York Times, January 1, 2006
”Having struggled through scandal, United Nations officials have decided they must act within weeks to produce an alternative to the Human Rights Commission.” According to HRW Exec-Dir Kenneth Roth: "If the governments of the world cannot get together on human rights at the U.N., then it is a shameful act for the entire organization". The article fails to note the contribution of HRW and other NGOs to the process by which the UNHRC has been discredited: Through adoption of radical political agendas and reports that are based on claims that lack credibility.