In her answer to MEP Jean Lambert’s question, on what the EU were doing to support IDSN’s application for UN consultative status, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Federica Mogherini, stated that, “A critical mass of members of the NGO Committee is hostile to civil society interests, particularly in sensitive areas such as caste discrimination.”

Ms. Mogherini explained that the EU is following the case of IDSN closely and is taking steps to try to work towards more transparent practices in the NGO committee. Ms. Morgherini also stated that the EU, “stands ready to discuss the specific case of IDSN further.”

MEP Jean Lambert’s question to the High Representative stated, “It is extremely troubling to learn that the International Dalit Solidarity Network (IDSN), an international NGO focusing on caste-based discrimination and other forms of discrimination based on work and descent, is now the longest pending application for UN Consultative Status accreditation. IDSN’s application has now been unjustly deferred by the UN NGO Committee for over 10 years. Only recently did the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights express concern over this specific deferral in his Annual Report to the UN Human Rights Council.

The MEP also asked Ms. Mogherini to outline any specific steps that the EU has taken to proactively support IDSN’s Consultative Status at the UN to date and what plans exist for future support.

In his address to the Human Rights Council in September 2018, the Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, Andrew Gilmour, also raised concern over the “repeated deferrals and apparent lack of transparency amounting to a de facto rejection on the granting of IDSN’s UN consultative status.” 

His comments came as part of his oral presentation to the Human Rights Council, covering the report of the Secretary-General on cooperation with the UN, its representatives and mechanisms in the field of human rights.

Mr. Gilmour also voiced disappointment that he had not seen improvement in the area of reprisals over the past year on a situation he had called, “frankly nothing short of abhorrent that, year after year, we are compelled to present cases to you, the UN membership, of intimidation and reprisals carried out against people whose crime – in the eyes of their respective Governments – was to cooperate with the UN institutions and mechanisms whose mandate of course derives from you, the UN membership.”

IDSN needs UN consultative status in order to ensure that the voices of Dalits speaking out against caste discrimination are heard at the UN and that they can participate on equal footing with other groups seeking to claim their rights.


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