27 July 2017, GENEVA – During its Coordination and Management Meeting held on 25 - 26 July 2017, the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) adopted a resolution granting the Geneva Centre for Human Rights Advancement and Global Dialogue (the Geneva Centre) special consultative status. The NGO Committee of ECOSOC reviewed the Geneva Centre’s candidacy for special consultative status during its session in New York held from 22 May to 23 May 2017. This session was attended by the Geneva Centre’s Executive Director Ambassador Idriss Jazairy.
After having heard the statement of the Geneva Centre’s Executive Director during the review session, the NGO Committee had adopted unanimously a recommendation to ECOSOC to grant special consultative status to the Geneva Centre. The Committee has 19 rotating member states elected by the UN Economic and Social Council: Azerbaijan, Burundi, China, Cuba, Greece, Guinea, India, Iran, Israel, Mauritania, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Russia, South Africa, Sudan, Turkey, Uruguay, the United States (US) and Venezuela. The enhanced status of the Geneva Centre became effective as of 26 July 2017 following ECOSOC’s approval of the recommendation of the NGO Committee.
The Geneva Centre’s Chairman Dr. Hanif Hassan Ali Al Qassim commented on the decision of the UN to grant the Centre special consultative status. Dr. Al Qassim said: “During the recent years, the Geneva Centre has undertaken major activities towards promoting a value-driven human rights system, challenging politicisation and building bridges between different human rights narratives.
“The decision to confer special consultative status with ECOSOC enables the Geneva Centre to act as an increasingly effective platform for dialogue between a broad variety of parties involved in the promotion and protection of human rights. Today is the beginning of a new chapter for the Geneva Centre.”
The Geneva Centre’s Executive Director Ambassador Idriss Jazairy also praised the decision of the UN to grant special consultative status to the Geneva Centre. Ambassador Jazairy said: “The recognition of the Centre’s international leadership in promoting and in advancing human rights - conferring upon its new consultative status - will enable the Centre to intensify its work and to offer its expertise to the UN community.”
In line with Resolution 1996/31 adopted during the 49th plenary meeting on 25 July 1996 by ECOSOC, the Geneva Centre will be able to designate spokespersons “to sit as observers at public meetings of the Council and its subsidiary bodies” as well as sessions at the UN Human Rights Council. The Centre will also have the privilege of providing written statements and oral presentations during meetings arranged by ECOSOC and the Human Rights Council. Article 61 (c) of Resolution 1996/31 also stipulates that NGOs with special consultative status are required to submit reports every fourth year detailing “the support they have given to the work of the United Nations.”
The Geneva Centre is a think-thank devoted to the promotion of greater understanding of issues related to human rights between the Global North and the Global South. It pursues its mandate through the organization of panel debates at the United Nations Office in Geneva (UNOG), the publication of studies and the organization of training courses.
Discussions are related to: (1) the enhancement of equal citizenship rights through education; (2) the Great Convergence between Islam and Christianity and the promotion of equal citizenship rights; (3) the advancement of the status of women in the Arab world; (4) slavery, racism and prejudice; (5) Islamophobia and the implementation of UN Human Rights Council Resolution 16/18; (6) the Special Procedures of the UN Human Rights Council: an alternative narrative from the South; (7) De-radicalization and the roll-back of extremist violence; (8) Muslims in Europe and (9) the Right to Development.
The Centre issues regular publications on the same subjects offering a depoliticized view of human rights issues – particularly from the viewpoints of the Global South and of the Arab region. The Geneva Centre organizes training courses for journalists and lawyers from Arab countries. These courses are also open to diplomats wishing to know, beyond the political considerations underlying human rights debates in the Human Rights Council, the values that should guide the debates on this theme.
The activities of the Centre are pursued under the impulse of the Chairman of the Geneva Centre Dr. Al Qassim, who is also a managing director of a major private firm in Dubai, and the Executive Director of the Geneva Centre Ambassador Idriss Jazairy who was previously the Ambassador of Algeria in many capitals, the Head of a UN specialized agency and President of many charities.