For seven years IDSN’s application for UN ECOSOC consultative status has been blocked on spurious grounds. IDSN is a key actor in bringing the plight of 260 million Dalits, suffering from caste discrimination worldwide, to the attention of the UN. Blocking IDSN’s accreditation is an attempt to silence the human rights issues of a quarter of a billion people. The IDSN application is now the application that has been deferred the longest by the ECOSOC committee.
Despite the NGO Committee never making any objections to IDSN’s application on technical or procedural grounds, IDSN has received 63 written questions from India over the years, causing the application to be continuously deferred. IDSN’s application is the oldest application before the committee. Many of the questions are repetitive and irrelevant. IDSN has always provided full, transparent and timely responses.
The International Service on Human Rights (ISHR) recently published a profile on IDSN and a few other similar cases, stating,
“We hope these profiles will help expose the Committee’s dysfunction, share the struggles of human rights defenders that are repeatedly blocked from bringing their experiences and insights on critical issues to policy-making at the UN, and ultimately help secure consultative status to the UN for these credible NGOs carrying out important and valuable human rights work.”
The European Parliament also recently highlighted this in the October 2013 EP Resolution on Caste Discrimination stating that,
“… to promote an enabling environment for civil society and human rights defenders working with people affected by caste discrimination in order to ensure their security and avoid any impediments to, or stigmatization or restriction of, their work; stresses that such an environment should include access to funding, cooperation with UN human rights bodies and Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) accreditation.”
IDSN is concerned that the current working methods of the NGO Committee and in IDSN’s case, the continued questioning by India, exclude IDSN from freely associating with UN organisations in contrast to the principles of non-discrimination, equality, participation, transparency and accountability, laid out in ECOSOC resolution 1996/31 and works against the criteria for NGO participation stipulated therein.