Statement by Ambassador Rice on the United Nations Economic and Social Council Decision to Grant Consultative Status to Three NGOs
The United States applauds today’s decisions at the United Nations Economic and Social Council to overturn the Committee on NGOs and grant consultative status to three organizations: the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) , the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA), and the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression. We are pleased to have worked with a broad coalition of like-minded countries, including France and Belgium, as well as civil society representatives, to help bring about today’s results.
IFES is a U.S.-based organization that aids governments around the world in conducting free and fair elections. The Belgium-based ILGA is committed to combating discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as to promoting the universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
The Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression works to promote freedom of opinion and expression in Syria and throughout the Arab world, and now holds the distinction of being the first NGO from Syria to be welcomed through the doors of the UN. Its director, Mazen Darwish, is a brave human rights advocate who continues to work for the realization of freedom and dignity in Syria. We look forward to the day when a just and democratic Syria is home to scores of vibrant NGOs like the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression.
All three of these organizations should have been granted consultative status by the Committee on NGOs, but we are pleased that the full Council took appropriate action to reverse these rejections.