Essay undervalues NGO power in UN human rights bodies

Reader comment on: The United Nations "Human Rights" Council

Submitted by Rene Wadlow, Aug 14, 2014 15:40

As an NGO representative to the UN Geneva since 1973, I have participated in the UN human rights bodies since the human rights secretariat moved in the mid-1970s from New York to Geneva. The article undervalues the scope of NGO action and possibilities. I have never been stopped in a presentation by a government, in part because I had given a copy of my presentation to the government well in advance, two weeks for the Chinese so they could send my text to Beijing and prepare their replies. Governments have a "right to reply" to NGO presentations which they use, but it is important to keep avenues of communication open with governments. I was the first NGO representative to raise the issue of the conflicts in Darfur, Sudan but also kept the Sudanese government informed of my views in private discussions. Thus our NGO, Association of World Citizens, was invited to send observers to observe the referendum in Sudan which led to the creation of South Sudan State. As with any institution, one needs to know how the system works, have contacts with the Secretariat for advice, have some contacts with governments interested and keep discussing with the governments whose violations one is raising.

Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens


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