The Chinese government’s crackdown on freedom of expression, independent thought, and civil society now extends beyond its borders. In the United Nations, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) misuses its seat on the United Nations Economic and Social Council’s Committee on Non-governmental Organizations (NGO Committee) to block applications from civil society organizations seeking UN consultative status. Consultative status enables NGOs to participate in UN activities, including hosting side events, gaining access to sessions, speaking at UN events and delivering statements. While the NGO Committee was originally created to facilitate civil society’s participation within the UN, China (along with other authoritarian countries) have instead used it to restrict NGO access to the UN. Chinese diplomats not only block applications from NGOs working on human rights issues (including those focused on North Korea) but also enforce the one-China policy by asking applicants to explicitly recognize Tibet and Taiwan as integral parts of Chinese territory and resisting groups engaged in advocacy on Uyghur issues. In UN reports on the NGO Committee’s deliberations and interviews with diplomats, UN officials and NGO representatives provide compelling evidence that Beijing seeks to contain NGOs and has worked with the Like-Minded Group (LMG), a coalition of authoritarian countries, to cap the role of civil society in the UN and bar many organizations from participation in this global body.
Under President Xi Jinping, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has cracked down on civil society and sought to sever linkages between domestic and international NGOs. As part of a more muscular global stance, China has also started to play an increasingly assertive role at the UN, including in the Human Rights Council (HRC), where it has initiated resolutions and joined the committee that selects human-rights experts to serve as part of the special procedures system. The nexus of these trends is also evident in China’s behavior in the UN Economic and Social Council’s (ECOSOC) Committee on Non-governmental Organizations, the body with the authority to grant NGOs UN consultative status.
This status is vital for civil society organizations’ advocacy efforts. It allows them to attend and speak at UN proceedings, such as the UN Human Rights Council; to submit information to UN bodies; to host events at the UN; and to participate in negotiations. Beijing, in concert with other authoritarian nations, has been active in blocking applications of civil society organizations, especially those focused on human rights and North Korea. In addition, China has established litmus tests as it has resisted applications from NGOs that failed to endorse the one-China policy by explicitly recognizing Tibet and Taiwan as integral parts of PRC territory. Beijing has also sought to contain NGO advocacy related to the rights of ethnic Uyghurs, a persecuted minority group. Although civil society groups have increasingly complained about misuse of the ECOSOC Committee, relatively little attention has been paid to China’s strong-arming of NGOs within the UN system.
This behavior from China and other authoritarian nations runs counter to the UN’s original intent in creating the ECOSOC Committee on [End Page 124] NGOs and establishing a way for civil society organizations to participate in UN proceedings. Yet, because current Committee rules allow states to pose any question, even mundane and repetitive ones, to defer an NGO’s application, a number of repressive states have continually delayed some applications for years. China has been one of the most active countries stalling applications, and in numerous cases it has deferred the same NGO repeatedly.
An analysis of Committee meeting summaries and reports from 2016 through 2019 reveals that China was the most frequent user of questions to delay and block civil society applicants. The PRC asked for additional information or queried NGOs 340 times, outpacing South Africa (337), India (283), Cuba (220), and Russia (172). In total, 964 NGOs with applications before the Committee were deferred at least once (many were deferred multiple times), and in 25 percent of those instances, a question from the PRC caused the deferral.1 Reports and interviews with diplomats, UN officials, and NGO representatives provide compelling evidence that Beijing seeks to contain and throttle NGOs—capping their role in the UN or barring them from participating at all.
A Seat at the Table
In 1996, in order to allow civil society to participate in the work of the UN, ECOSOC established a committee to review and recommend applications from NGOs seeking UN consultative status.2 The NGOs that sought to be included had to meet a set of criteria: engage in work that is relevant to and supportive of the UN’s mission; possess transparent and democratic decision making, including a democratically adopted constitution; have established headquarters with an executive officer and operations for two years or more; enjoy substantive competence or authority to speak for members; and be governed by a representative structure and appropriate accountability mechanisms. As part of the application process, an NGO must submit copies of its constitution, charter, statutes, or by-laws; its official registration; financial statements, including contributions and other support, as well as expenses; and examples of publications and recent articles or statements.3
UN consultative status allows NGOs to engage in and access a range of UN bodies and processes and to have a voice in UN proceedings. Accredited organizations are able to attend international conferences and events, such as ECOSOC and Human Rights Council sessions; to present written and oral statements in these venues; to organize parallel or side events; and to enter UN premises, which facilitates networking and advocacy, including meeting with government delegations. Access to UN channels and corridors enables NGOs to conduct international advocacy and enhances their visibility and impact.
The NGO Committee, which effectively acts as a gatekeeper to the [End Page 125] UN for civil society organizations, comprises nineteen UN member states, including five from Africa, four from Asia, two from Eastern Europe, four from Latin America and the Caribbean, and four from the West European and Others Group. Member states serve four-year terms with no term limits, which has allowed China to sit on the Committee almost continually. The workload of the Committee, which has been increasing, makes it hard for smaller delegations with fewer resources to devote the time and energy to participate. Thus, the Committee is heavily dominated by large countries with resources, such as China and Russia, and strongly motivated ones, including Cuba and Pakistan, with repressive agendas. This has allowed authoritarian countries, such as an ascendant China with a drive to extend its regressive ideas beyond its borders, to dominate the Committee.
The NGO Committee meets twice a year—once in the winter and once in the summer—to review NGO applications. States sitting on the Committee are allowed to raise questions, even mundane, arbitrary, or seemingly innocuous ones about income or activities, that automatically delay the application, usually until the next session six months later.4 If, for example, an NGO that helps victims of human trafficking is asked a trivial question, such as why it sells handmade jewelry on its website, the organization’s application is delayed until the next meeting. Some countries, primarily authoritarian ones, have used their authority to ask questions to continually block particular applicants, even though they engage in work that is in keeping with the UN Charter and provide valuable human-rights advocacy.
China’s Core Interference
China’s most frequent interventions have related to a core national interest—the one-China policy. Beijing frequently asks organizations to correct website content or other materials to identify Tibet and Taiwan as parts of China or to clarify their stance on the one-China policy. In most cases, the NGO up for consideration did not openly endorse Tibetan or Taiwanese independence but merely failed to explicitly list Tibet or Taiwan as being part of China’s territory, for instance by using formulations such as “Tibet, Autonomous Region of China” and “Taiwan, Province of China.” Beijing has applied this litmus test even in cases when the NGO in question engaged in activities unrelated to territorial or minority-rights issues. For example, in January 2016, the PRC representative delayed the application of Engineers Without Borders, an NGO that works on infrastructure projects to meet basic human needs, because “the website incorrectly identified Taiwan as a country and he hoped the group would clarify its position on Taiwan and correct that information according to United Nations rules.”5 In an attempt to give these demands a veneer of legitimacy, China’s representatives [End Page 126] frequently frame their objections and requests as reflecting “UN rules” or “UN terminology”—even though there are no UN requirements that civil society organizations clarify or even take a stance on the status of Tibet and Taiwan.
It is also evident that China combs through NGO materials for references to Taiwan and Tibet, and activities that it may find objectionable. For example, when a representative of the Global Peace Foundation, an NGO with offices around the world, appeared before the Committee in 2018,
The representative of China asked about a 2016 event featuring the Director of Tibet House in New Delhi at a round table and asked about the organization’s position on that organization.
The representative of Global Peace Foundation replied that the Foundation had replied in writing to that query in 2016, reiterating that it had no political position on China or its provinces. China’s delegate went on to ask that an answer be provided in writing, stating that Tibet autonomous region was an integral part of China. The representative of the Global Peace Foundation said its position would in no way be contradictory to China’s Governmental position, which was accepted by the United Nations. . . . China’s delegate requested another written response, noting that he was not satisfied with the one given on 13 May .6
While China’s territorial integrity is a core issue for the PRC, Beijing also appears to deploy these questions to slow or stall an NGO’s application when it has broader concerns about the NGO’s work, especially when the applicant works on human rights. Chinese diplomats may find it more convenient to cite territorial concerns rather than having to openly oppose the organization’s mission, such as advocating fair trials or supporing human-rights defenders. According to a representative with a human-rights advocacy organization, the PRC seized on minute issues and “complained that a map on our website used different colors for Taiwan and China.” As the NGO continued to make changes in an effort to appease China, it became clear that the PRC’s opposition to the organization was much more significant. When the NGO in question met with other state delegates sitting on the Committee, “other countries said that they had already been approached by China, and China had basically asked them to oppose our application … One of the missions said, ‘China told me that you are a very, very bad organization.'” China also was one of the countries blocking the application from the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice, an NGO named for the late U.S. congressman Tom Lantos (1928–2008), a Holocaust survivor. In January 2019, the PRC blocked the foundation’s application by “request[ing] that it use the correct United Nations terminology in referring on its website, to Taiwan and Tibet.”7
In addition to Tibet and Taiwan, Chinese diplomats are vigilant about NGO positions on China’s autonomous region of Xinjiang and advocacy [End Page 127] for the territory’s Uyghur Muslims. In a controversial case, the PRC attempted to strip UN consultative status from the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP), an NGO focused on ethnic and minority rights, because the group allowed a Uyghur activist to attend UN activities as part of its roster of participants. Although it is not an unusual practice for NGOs to include affiliated activists on their lists of participants, the PRC has protested the inclusion of Uyghur activists who are not full-time employees of the sponsoring NGO in an effort to impede their participation at the UN. In particular, the PRC complained about STP’s inclusion of Dolkun Isa, a Uyghur activist residing in Germany. During the 21 May 2018 session of the NGO Committee, the Chinese representative stated that STP
had facilitated the participation of Dolkun Isa, an individual designated as a terrorist by China, at the seventeenth session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues … the individual’s organization demanded so-called Xinjiang Independence and the establishment of East Turkistan … the individual … had received accreditation through the Society for Threatened Peoples … Mr. Isa had engaged in criminal and terrorist activities in China.8
The PRC countered statements from Germany and the United States endorsing STP and defending Isa’s participation in the UN forum. The Chinese government further registered its disdain by issuing a note verbale, a formal diplomatic communication, that reiterated its arguments against STP and making the case that STP’s consultative status should be revoked. The PRC relented only after receiving a written response from STP that “expressed its commitment to upholding the purposes and principles of the United Nations, respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of China … [and] expressed its unequivocal opposition to terrorism.”9
Although the PRC is the most active delegation in querying NGO applications, it typically does not act alone. Other countries, especially authoritarian powers, often join Beijing in its efforts to contain civil society, and their actions sometimes appear to be based on at least low-level coordination. In addition to a general oppositition to human-rights NGOs, these countries demonstrate solidarity by delaying applications from groups working on issues related to other repressive nations, especially Iran and North Korea.
The countries whose views align with China’s generally hail from the Like-Minded Group (LMG), a coalition of primarily authoritarian regimes that has been active in the Geneva-based HRC and, before that, the UN Commission on Human Rights.10 Although the LMG does not have a formal membership, with countries having the flexibility to [End Page 128] choose to affiliate with particular statements, a review of LMG statements in the HRC suggests that the group has expanded to 51 nations from the roughly 22 that had associated with it in the Commission.11 According to an analysis of these countries’ conduct on the NGO Committee, in 94 percent of the instances when an NGO experienced a deferral, this was due to a question from an LMG country.12 The most active countries hindering NGO applications include China, Russia, Cuba, India, and South Africa—all countries from the LMG. Because of these blocking efforts, a UN official estimated that only about 25 percent of human-rights NGOs eventually receive consultative status. The International Service for Human Rights, an NGO with offices in New York and Geneva, estimates that human-rights organizations are 50 percent less likely to be recommended for accreditation than NGOs working on other issues.13
Although other nations share Beijing’s hostility toward human-rights NGOs, China often appears to be the leading opponent. A human-rights NGO that was deferred fourteen times and received more than eighty questions, including a number of mundane and vague questions about activities or finances, stated that “China was leading countries in questioning our work” and that PRC diplomats had approached other countries to complain about the organization’s work and to request support for continued denial of consultative status. Although the NGO’s meetings with other countries sitting on the NGO Committee “were quite friendly … the meeting with the PRC delegation was quite hostile … and they expressed concern about our work … that it made China look negative.”
Beijing’s opposition to Peace Brigades International, an NGO based in the United Kingdom that works with human-rights defenders to ease conflicts, is illustrative of China’s willingness to be vocal in delaying an application. During the seven NGO Committee meetings between 2016 and 2019 in which the organization’s application was discussed, the PRC queried the group at every meeting—making it the only country to do so consistently. The May 2016 session was the only time another country delegation asked a question. At this session, aside from China’s enquiry about “how the organization maintained its independence given that it received funds from Government institutions,” South Africa also asked “about the location of its operations in Africa.”14 Subsequent questions posed by China between 2017 and 2019 included requests for “details on projects in Nepal over the past three years and the names of local partners,”15 “further information about the organization’s current field projects and other initiatives it intended to take in the future,”16 “further information on how the group selected volunteers to carry out its work,”17 “a list of the countries for which it made oral statements [at the UN] in 2014 and 2015,”18 the group’s definition of “peaceful social change,'”19 and a request for “the organization to provide details about [End Page 129] its partnerships with two groups in Indonesia and Nepal, as well as any other groups in Asia.”20 During the January 2019 session, China voiced its usual refrain of insisting “that it use the correct United Nations terminology in referring, on its website, to Taiwan and Tibet,” forcing the NGO to respond to yet another question before finally receiving UN consultative status in 2020.21
China and other repressive nations often protect each other by resisting civil society groups that focus on authoritarian allies, especially Iran and North Korea. Some of these states posed questions even when they did not have clear national interests at stake and the NGO under consideration worked in an entirely different region. Moreover, there was some evidence that this effort was orchestrated. For example, when the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center was reviewed in January 2016, China, Iran, and Cuba all queried the group.22 A UN official noted that sometimes this collusion appeared to be as simple as a few of these countries consulting “outside the meeting room before the session,” and then later, during the Committee’s proceedings, one or more of these countries put forward questions that protected the interests of another country in this group. Diplomats also reported observing “papers being passed during the Committee’s session” or “a delegation, such as Egypt, standing up and walking over to another delegation [such as] Sudan, Burundi, Iran or Venezuela, and hand[ing] them a paper that appears to be an already drafted question … and then that country would ask a question that reflected the Egyptian government’s concerns.” In addition, some of these countries asked questions that appeared to reflect the interests of a delegation that was absent from that session or did not serve on the Committee. For example, even though North Korea did not sit on the Committee, its authoritarian allies asked questions to block NGOs working on North Korea.
There are indications that other countries increasingly seek to align themselves with China’s positions and that the PRC is a growing locus of power on the Committee. China’s ascendance was manifest even in the behavior of delegates in the meeting room. One civil society representative described other countries as doing a “dance that goes on around the PRC delegation. It is almost like some of the other countries are kowtowing … during the break … while Chinese representatives literally don’t get up … reflecting power … that everyone comes to the PRC.”
Moreover, Beijing appeared to have sway over the positions of other [End Page 130] countries on the Committee. An NGO that faced repeated deferrals met individually with countries on the Committee and noted that “the way … other Committee members reacted when we met them and [when we] said that China is against us, they … reacted like it is going to be very difficult” for the application to be approved. Other nations even indicated that “they were not really so concerned about our work, but for many of them a central issue was China’s opposition. One of them said that ‘China’s opposition actually makes it very, very difficult for us to support you.'” A diplomat concurred that they suspect that other countries act at Beijing’s behest, explaining that China might do this in order to “spread the wealth by getting other countries to ask some questions for them.” This coordination served PRC interests by bringing “down the number of questions coming from the PRC delegates” and obscuring the degree to which Beijing is “out in front in opposing civil society.”
A core group of LMG countries joined China in preempting South Korean and U.S. groups working on human rights in North Korea. China, in tandem with Cuba, Iran, and South Africa, repeatedly queried the Database Center for North Korea Human Rights, a South Korea–based NGO that compiles information on human-rights violations in North Korea and whose application the Committee has continually deferred. In May 2016, the PRC questioned “how the organization maintained its independence given that it received funds from Government institutions,” and South Africa made an inquiry along similar lines.23
Similar efforts brought China, Cuba, South Africa, Iran, and Russia together in stymieing the application of NK Watch, another South Korea–based NGO, and repeatedly deferred an application from the Citizens’ Alliance for North Korean Human Rights. In the latter case, Beijing’s question was much more pointed, and during the NGO Committee’s summer 2016 session, it asked about the group’s activities in China, which was followed by a February 2017 question about “how the group maintained its independence” from the South Korean government.24 More than a year later, a Chinese diplomat again frustrated the group’s quest for UN consultative status by asking how the Citizens’ Alliance “could assess and guarantee the objectivity of information it received from defectors from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea without visiting the country.”25
Although the U.S. Committee on Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK), an NGO based in Washington, D.C., faced similar treatment in the NGO Committee, U.S. diplomats championed this group’s application. China was again joined by Russia, Iran, and South Africa in hindering the group’s application with the same strategy of posing un-ceasing queries. In order to overcome this indefinite limbo, the U.S. delegation used a strategy that it had employed to secure UN consultative status for other NGOs—including the Committee to Protect Journalists [End Page 131] and Freedom Now—by calling for a vote of the whole nineteen-member NGO Committee. As predicted, China, along with other states, voted down HRNK’s application.26 However, the U.S. strategy of pushing for a Committee vote (even a failed one) allowed the matter to come before the Economic and Social Council, the NGO Committee’s parent body. Unlike the NGO Committee, where authoritarian countries are often able to prevail, ECOSOC comprises all member states, and in this instance it overturned the NGO Committee’s decision by approving HRNK for consultative status.
The proximate reasons for China and other authoritarian countries’ willingness to block NGOs working to counter the North Korean regime’s totalitarian system are difficult to pinpoint precisely. Most of these countries, however, appear to be driven by a sense of “solidarity and support” that exists among these repressive regimes and draws many of them together under the umbrella of the LMG. The work of these countries on behalf of North Korea provides insight into this aspect of authoritarian camaraderie because North Korea does not have the diplomatic capacity, economic resources, or soft power to reciprocate. Instead, these countries appear to act out of a reflexive instinct for mutual protection. While China may also have been driven by its own interests in protecting a client state and obscuring its treatment of North Koreans who have taken refuge within its borders, the joint nature of these efforts is worrying evidence of authoritarian collusion to cap and contain civil society in the UN.
Making Room for Human Rights at the UN
While China’s military prowess and economic heft are changing the world beyond its borders in visible ways, another aspect of Beijing’s ascendance is manifest in the way that it subverts the NGO Committee to enforce its territorial interests vis-`a-vis Tibet and Taiwan; to hamper advocacy on behalf of Uyghurs; to protect authoritarian allies, particularly North Korea; and to contain civil society. Given the role of civil society in advancing human rights globally and drawing attention to China’s human-rights lapses in international fora, the PRC is working hard to shrink the space for these groups. Moreover, Chinese diplomats pair their opposition to applications in the NGO Committee with manuevers in the UN Human Rights Council to restrict participation in a variety of UN events to only “ECOSOC accredited organizations.” While some of these stances are unsurprising, the Chinese government’s persistence and activism is evidence that Beijing is determined to contain civil society wherever it can.
China’s actions on the Committee also demonstrate the ease with which Beijing has found allies in its effort to constrain civil society. Cuba, South Africa, Iran, and Russia are some of the PRC’s most frequent [End Page 132] accomplices in stonewalling human-rights organizations. Moreover, the concerted actions of these nations in blocking NGOs working on human rights in Iran and North Korea illustrate their sense of authoritarian solidarity. This axis of repression has been able to hijack a Committee that was meant to facilitate civil society cooperation with the UN, but which is now used to push civil society groups to the fringes of this global body.
The future ability of NGOs to operate within the UN will depend largely on the response of democratic countries and their willingness to draw attention to the need to combat authoritarian powers that are abusing their UN presence. The introduction of membership standards for various bodies—particularly the UN Human Rights Council—to prevent autocratic nations from sitting on bodies that are meant to protect and safeguard human rights has been a divisive issue. A simple criterion for NGO Committee membership could be that any country will be banned if it has been included in the UN secretary-general’s report on intimidation and reprisals against civil society for cooperation with the United Nations in the field of human rights.27
In recent years, the number of countries that affiliate themselves with the LMG has grown, bolstering its influence. The United States and its allies must do more diplomatically, including widening the umbrella of support for civil society among smaller states. To advance a reform agenda in the UN General Assembly, this effort will require broad support that includes not just liberal democracies in Europe and North America but other nations that value freedom of association and the role of civil society. Inaction will allow China and its authoritarian allies to bar civil society and human-rights advocacy from the world body.
1. The PRC’s interventions were responsible for blocking 241 NGOs. Some of these groups were ultimately awarded consultative status after answering questions, but often their applications remain in limbo.
2. United Nations Economic and Social Council Resolution 1996/31, 25 July 1996, www.un.org/esa/coordination/ngo/pdf/res96-31.pdf.
3. “How to Apply for Consultative Status with ECOSOC?” United Nations, www.un.org/development/desa/dspd/civil-society/ecosoc-status.html.
4. In some instances, if the NGO responds immediately the Committee can review the application during the same session but generally because the Committee only meets twice a year the application is not considered again until the next biannual session.
5. United Nations Economic and Social Council Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations Meetings Coverage (ECOSOC/6729-NGO/820), 27 January 2016, www.un.org/press/en/2016/ecosoc6729.doc.htm.
6. United Nations Economic and Social Council Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations Meetings Coverage (2018), 31 January 2018, ECOSOC/6882-NGO/863 (2018), www.un.org/press/en/2018/ecosoc6882.doc.htm.
7. United Nations Economic and Social Council Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations Meetings Coverage (2019), 24 January 2019, ECOSOC/6957-NGO/881 (2019), www.un.org/press/en/2019/ecosoc6957.doc.htm.
8. United Nations Economic and Social Council Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations Report (2018), 11 June 2018, E/2018/32 (Part II) (2018), 51 and 53, https://undocs.org/e/2018/32(partii).
9. United Nations Economic and Social Council Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations Report (2018), 11 June 2018, E/2018/32 (Part II) (2018), 53, https://undocs.org/E/2018/32(partii).
10. For further analysis, see Rana Siu Inboden, Authoritarian States: Blocking Civil Society Participation in the United Nations (Austin, Texas: Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law, 2019), https://strausscenter.org/wp-content/uploads/strauss/18-19/rsinboden_authoritarianstates.pdf.
11. Inboden, Authoritarian States.
12. Inboden, Authoritarian States.
13. “Political Interests Continue to Distort the Decisions of the NGO Committee, But this Time the World Is Watching,” International Service for Human Rights, 14 June 2016, www.ishr.ch/news/political-interests-continue-distort-decisions-ngo-committee-time-world-watching-0; interview with UN official, New York, 14 June 2018.
14. United Nations Economic and Social Council Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations Meetings Coverage (2016), 25 May 2016, ECOSOC/6761-NGO/831 (2016), www.un.org/press/en/2016/ecosoc6761.doc.htm.
15. United Nations Economic and Social Council Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations Meetings Coverage (2017), 3 February 2017, ECOSOC/6812-NGO/845 (2017), www.un.org/press/en/2017/ecosoc6812.doc.htm.
16. United Nations Economic and Social Council Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations Meetings Coverage (2017), 25 May 2017, ECOSOC/6841-NGO/853 (2017), www.un.org/press/en/2017/ecosoc6841.doc.htm.
17. United Nations Economic and Social Council Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations Meetings Coverage (2017), 31 May 2017, ECOSOC/6844-NGO/856 (2017), www.un.org/press/en/2017/ECOSOC6844.doc.htm.
18. United Nations Economic and Social Council Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations Meetings Coverage (2018), 29 May 2018, ECOSOC/6923-NGO/875 (2018), www.un.org/press/en/2018/ecosoc6923.doc.htm.
19. United Nations Economic and Social Council Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations Meetings Coverage (2018), 2 February 2018, ECOSOC/6884-NGO/865 (2018), www.un.org/press/en/2018/ecosoc6884.doc.htm.
20. United Nations Economic and Social Council Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations Meetings Coverage (2019), 22 May 2019, ECOSOC/6988-NGO/893 (2019), www.un.org/press/en/2019/ecosoc6988.doc.htm.
21. United Nations Economic and Social Council Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations Meetings Coverage (2019), 24 January 2019, ECOSOC/6957-NGO/881 (2019), www.un.org/press/en/2019/ecosoc6957.doc.htm.
22. United Nations Economic and Social Council Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations Meetings Coverage (2016), 29 January 2016, ECOSOC/6731-NGO/822 (2016), www.un.org/press/en/2016/ecosoc6731.doc.htm. India, which is a democracy but often affiliates itself with non-western countries out of what appears to be a sense of global-South solidarity, also posed a question.
23. United Nations Economic and Social Council Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations Meetings Coverage (2016), 24 May 2016, ECOSOC/6760-NGO/830 (2016), www.un.org/press/en/2016/ecosoc6760.doc.htm.
24. United Nations Economic and Social Council Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations Meetings Coverage (2017), 3 February 2017, ECOSOC/6812-NGO/845 (2017), www.un.org/press/en/2017/ecosoc6812.doc.htm.
25. United Nations Economic and Social Council Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations Meetings Coverage (2018), 25 May 2018, ECOSOC/6922-NGO/874 (2018), www.un.org/press/en/2018/ecosoc6922.doc.htm; See also, United Nations Economic and Social Council Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations Meetings Coverage (2016), 24 May 2016, ECOSOC/6760-NGO/830 (2016), www.un.org/press/en/2016/ecosoc6760.doc.htm.
26. United Nations Economic and Social Council Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations Report (2018), 23 February 2018, E/2018/32 (Part II) (2018), https://undocs.org/E/2018/32(partii).
27. In the most recent report, concerns about reprisals against fifteen individuals in China were included by the secretary-general: United Nations General Assembly, “Cooperation with the United Nations, its representatives and mechanisms in the field of human rights: Report of the Secretary-General,” 25 September 2020, A/HRC/45/36, https://undocs.org/en/a/hrc/45/36.
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