Human Rights has again emerged as a controversial issue at the WSIS, this time over the situation in China. Today the opening plenary of Prepcom III was thrown into conflict and disarray by the attempt by the US delegation to get the NGO “Human Rights in China” accredited for the summit in November.
The NGO Human Rights in China has long had a difficult history of involvement at the United Nations. From its efforts to get official ECOSOC status to its attempts to attend the World Conference on Racism, at every turn the Chinese government has been there to block them from participating in the UN.
At the WSIS Prepcom, the WSIS Executive Secretariat reviewed the application for accreditation of Human Rights in China, and determined through some technicality that the organization had not adequately applied. Thus the secretariat did not include HRIC in the list of organizations applying for accreditation.
The US Delegation this morning asked why Human Rights in China was not accredited, and requested that it be allowed to participate in the Summit. The EU and Canada supported the US.
The Chinese replied that this would deviate from standard prepcom procedure, and thus asked for a roll call vote on whether or not the Prepcom should allow an organization that was not forwarded by the secretariat to be accredited. The motion of China succeeded, 52 in favor, 35 against, 35 abstentions. Notably, Tunisia not only abstained, it purposely was “absent” from the vote.
Quite a bit of drama already on the first morning of the Prepcom.