Wed, 25 Nov 2020

AfriForum now registered with the UN as an NGO

News24
07 Oct 2020, 16:10 GMT+10

AfriForum says it has officially been registered with the United Nations (UN) as a non-governmental organisation (NGO) with special advisory status.

"This status offers AfriForum various opportunities and privileges to continue its work on a much larger scale in the UN's conference rooms," AfriForum said in a statement on Monday.

The NGO stated it had struggled for a decade to achieve this task; its first registration application was submitted in 2011.

The registration further means that AfriForum has to report to the UN every four years on the work the organisation is doing.

"AfriForum will especially take a strong view at these meetings on expropriation without compensation, farm murders, corruption and minority rights.

"We look forward to extending our networks in the international sphere and sharing our knowledge and experience with other organisations," head of policy and action Ernst Roets said.

News24 has seen a letter - dated 13 August 2020 - to AfriForum informing it that the Economic and Social Council (Ecosoc) adopted the recommendation of the Committee on Non-Governmental Organisations to grant special consultative status to AfriForum.

"Consultative status for an organisation enables it to actively engage with Ecosoc and its subsidiary bodies, as well as with the United Nations Secretariat programmes, funds and agencies in a number of ways," the letter reads.

According to the UN, Ecosoc, under the overall authority of the General Assembly, coordinates the economic and social work of the United Nations and the UN family of organisations.

It is not a significant issue - Human rights lawyer

Human rights lawyer Wayne Ncube told News24 that most NGOs get accredited by the accreditors, as long as they are not engaged in nefarious activities.

He explained:

As far as I understand, they have been trying to get recognition for 10 years. There is a very simple process towards getting special status accredited by the UN, it is not a fairly complicated process. As long as you are not engaged in any nefarious activities, most NGOs will get accredited with the accreditors.

Ncube added that the UN has a body, where part of its function is also to assist minority groups.

"Simply allowing AfriForum in, and allowing them to essentially listen in and be part of the consultative status, does not grant legitimacy to a lot of the rhetoric from AfriForum. It is not something that provides them legitimacy," he concluded.

News24 reached out to a representative from the United Nations in South Africa for comment.

It will be added once it is received.

In 2018, AfriForum's CEO Kallie Kriel said apartheid was not a crime against humanity.

Roets had also previously tweeted a picture of the apartheid flag, just hours after the Equality Court had declared that the gratuitous display of the flag was hate speech.

Where it began?

He added the display also impaired dignity.

AfriForum then obtained leave to appeal the ruling.

Roets, at the time, said the organisation obtaining the leave to appeal was a positive turn for freedom of speech.

This after Kriel and Roets embarked on a US trip to garner support against farm killings and "land grabs" in South Africa.

This was after Bloomberg had asked Ramaphosa, on the sidelines of a Global Business Forum event in New York, whether he had spoken to Trump about the matter of farm killings and land grabs.

"... we were seated together at the lunch table, so we never really got time to talk about the tweet. It was just an opportunity to shake hands and to say, 'how are you?' and all that.

"We are involved in a process of discussing land reform. Land was the original sin in the history of South Africa, we are seeking to put right what was done wrong many hundreds of years ago when the majority of the land mass of the country was appropriated by a minority. What we are seeking to do now is to balance that equation and make sure that the land in our country is shared by all South Africans who live in it.

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