I have the honor to speak on behalf of the European Union.
First, the EU would like to express its great appreciation for your efforts and of various delegations to facilitate the work of the Council on this matter.
As we had the opportunity to state in different occasions, the EU strongly believes that every non-governmental organization is entitled to treatment which is in accordance with the ECOSOC Resolution 1996/31 on the Consultative relationship between the United Nations and non-governmental organizations, and follows the standard practice of the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations, regardless of the nature of the organization. For the EU this is a matter of principle.
ECOSOC Resolution 1996/31 on the Consultative relationship between the United Nations and non-governmental organisations explicitly confirms the need to take into account the full diversity of non-governmental organisations. It sets out that NGOs shall be granted consultative status if they (a) are concerned with matters falling within the competence of ECOSOC and its subsidiary bodies, (b) have aims and purposes that are in conformity with the spirit, purposes and principles of the UN Charter, and (c) undertake to support the work of the United Nations and to promote knowledge of its principles and activities.
In recent years, the NGO Committee has only rejected applications for consultative status from organizations that have carried out actions against a Member State or that have been connected to terrorist activities. The Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights (RFSL) obviously does not fall in to this category. To reject them, therefore, only serves to undermine this important principle.
In their application and in responses that they have provided to subsequent questions in the NGO Committee, RFSL have clearly demonstrated that they fulfill this criteria. No truthful reason can therefore be presented for refusing them consultative status, except that of straightforward discrimination.
In our view, RFSL represent an important constituency who has the same and equal right as all others to engage in the work of the UN. They will add an important voice to our discussions at the UN – to the benefit of all its Member States.
The United Nations is founded upon the spirit of diversity, non-discrimination and respect for others. This august body must reflect this. The European Union will vote against the NGO Committee recommendation and we strongly encourage all members of the Council to do likewise.