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The UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) has voted to grant special consultative status to nine NGOs, including one that is a vigorous advocate for Dalit human rights. The NGOs include International Dalit Solidarity Network (IDSN), whose accreditation had been blocked by India for 15 years. ECOSOC voted on a US draft resolution despite last-minute attempts by China, Russia and India to block the NGOs’ accreditation. The resolution was adopted by 24 in favour, 17 against and 12 abstentions.
“India has been instrumental in blocking the IDSN…..IDSN’s application was deferred for 15 years – a record for blocking an organisation. The IDSN says it received over 100 questions from the committee, and despite responding promptly to all of these, was always deferred,” said Louis Charbonneau of Human Rights Watch (HRW) in a statement before the vote. “The only way out of this limbo is if individual member countries rescue the applications from the NGO committee and force a vote in an ECOSOC plenary meeting, where civil society groups stand a better chance of success,” he said.
Several countries, including Oman, Bangladesh, India, Syria and Sri Lanka did not approve. They felt this had undermined the earlier decision in September by a 19-member Committee on NGOs not to grant the NGOs recognition.