Consultative status not synonymous with 'official registration' - UN in response to AfriForum

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AfriForum's head of policy and action, Ernst Roets.
AfriForum's head of policy and action, Ernst Roets.
PHOTO: Felix Dlangamandla/Netwerk24
  • The UN stated that consultative status is not synonymous with official registration of any kind.
  • This comes after AfriForum claimed that it was registered as an NGO with special consultative status at the UN.
  • The UN further corrected statements made by AfriForum in a media release on 4 October.

The United Nations (UN) in South Africa has said the granting of consultative status is not synonymous with "official registration" of any kind.

"According to the UN Charter, it is simply an arrangement to facilitate consultation with NGOs that work in areas of relevant competence, and subject to several obligations and requirements," the UN told News24 on Friday.

The intergovernmental organisation added:

Any violation of those requirements, including misuse or abuse of the terms of this relationship, can eventually lead to negative consequences for the NGOs, including withdrawal of consultative status.

This came after AfriForum said in a statement on 4 October that it had won a "decade-long struggle to register with [the] UN" as a non-governmental organisation (NGO) with special consultative status.

READ | AfriForum now registered with the UN as an NGO

In response to the AfriForum statement, the UN in SA said the organisation was granted special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (Ecosoc) in June, as "Afrikaanse Forum vir Burgerregte", not as "AfriForum".

In addition, the UN also reacted to a comment by AfriForum's head of policy and action, Ernst Roets, that the status offered AfriForum various opportunities and privileges to continue its work on a much larger scale in the UN's conference rooms.

The body explained:

I am not sure what Mr Roets specifically means by this statement, but use of UN conference rooms for meetings is not allowed by us in UNHQ unless sponsored by a UN Office or a Member State for an approved event. NGOs are not entitled to use UN premises to specifically and solely promote their own objectives.

The UN in SA further responded to AfriForum's remark that the special consultative status would give them the privilege and opportunity to appoint representatives at the UN offices in New York, Geneva and Vienna to represent the organisation at various forums and meetings.

"The NGO would be able to request UN grounds passes for its representatives to visit UN premises in New York, Geneva and Vienna for a period of limited duration.

"It is important to note that the passes do not enable automatic participation in any and all meetings, particularly high-level UN meetings/events which require event-specific registration," the UN in SA said.

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