NEW YORK, 27th July, 2017 -- In a statement delivered at the United Nations Economic and Social Council, ECOSOC, in New York on Wednesday, the UAE expressed serious concerns with the recommendation of special consultative status for Fondation Alkarama, as the NGO has been designated a terrorist organisation under UAE Federal Law Number 07 of 2014 on Combatting Terrorism Offences.
The statement was delivered ahead of the vote on applications for special consultative status of non-governmental organisations.
The Permanent Mission of the UAE to the UN introduced a draft decision that the ECOSOC not grant special consultative status to the NGO Fondation Alkarama. The draft decision was adopted by consensus by ECOSOC. The proposal passed with the consensus of the ECOSOC members, halting Fondation Alkarama’s access to the UN body as an NGO with special consultative status.
"The UAE welcomes the decision," said Lana Nusseibeh, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the UAE to the UN. "Today, member states have ensured that only NGOs whose operations align with the principles of the UN Charter and ECOSOC Resolution 1996/31 are granted this special status, keeping with our collective responsibility to the ECOSOC," she added.
The UAE’s statement recognised the importance of civil society participation at the UN, noting that it contributes to better policymaking and governance processes, but emphasised that NGOs must operate in accordance with the principles of the Charter of the UN and ECOSOC Resolution 1996/31, which outlines the consultative relationship between the UN and NGOs.
The UAE added that Abd al-Rahman bin Umayr al-Nu’aymi, the founder and former president of Fondation Alkarama, is designated as a financier and facilitator of terrorism by the UN’s Daesh/Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee.
At the meeting, the UAE pointed out that Fondation Alkarama withdrew a previous application for consultative status following questions from ECOSOC’s Committee on NGOs regarding its connections to terrorism. During the current application process, Fondation Alkarama claimed that the questions posed in the previous process were politically motivated. The lack of a direct response from Fondation Alkarama was concerning for the UAE, which considered that the ECOSOC Committee on NGOs may not have been able to give serious consideration to the gravity of issues affecting Alkarama’s application.
The UAE praised the diversity of voices in and engagement of civil society in the work of the UN, reaffirming that Fondation Alkarama’s connections to terrorism were incompatible with the work and spirit of the UN. The official statement was delivered by Ahmed Al Mahmoud, Second Secretary at the UAE Permanent Mission in New York.
Algeria, a co-sponsor of the draft decision, expressed that the ECOSOC should not accept the application of an NGO with certain members that are currently being prosecuted in courts, and a founder is on the list of several UN Security Council committees. India also spoke in favor of the draft decision, calling for an introspection of the NGO Committee’s functions as well the need to check NGO applications against the UN Security Council sanctions list prior to consideration for consultative status to the ECOSOC.
The ECOSOC is one of the six main organs of the UN, and aims to advance the three dimensions of sustainable development – economic, social and environmental. It is the central platform for fostering debate and innovative thinking, forging consensus on ways forward, and coordinating efforts to achieve internationally agreed goals. It is also responsible for the follow-up to major UN conferences and summits.