UNITED NATIONS, July 26 (APP):The U.N. Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) has approved the accreditation of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), overturning an earlier decision to deny the New York-based press freedom watchdog body’s application.
The CPJ reports on violations of press freedom in countries and conflict zones around the world, reporting and mobilizing action on behalf of journalists who have been targeted. Accreditation with the 54-member ECOSOC gives CPJ access to U.N. headquarters and allows participation in many U.N. events.
In Monday’s vote, ECOSOC approved CPJ’s application for “consultative status”, first made in 2012, by a vote of 40-5 with 6 abstentions.
Russia, China, Zimbabwe, Vietnam and Rwanda opposed the resolution, while abstaining were: Pakistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, India and Uganda.Three of ECOSOC’s members didn’t vote.
ECOSOC’s 19-member committee that deals with non-governmental organizations deferred action on CPJ’s application seven times before it voted on May 26 to reject it. China, Azerbaijan, Pakistan and Sudan voted against CPJ’s accreditation in May.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said at the time he was disappointed that CPJ’s accreditation request had been rejected.
On Monday, U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power called the NGO committee’s action “outrageous,” and the United States decided to launch what turned out to be a successful campaign to reverse the committee’s vote in ECOSOC, its parent body.
CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon said Monday’s vote recognizes the organization’s important role in providing “expert knowledge and analysis on press freedom related issues.”
“While we are grateful that the vote finally grants CPJ accreditation,” he said in a statement, “we remain disheartened at the politicized process for gaining accreditation and hope that the fact that our application took so long and was so contentious is a wake-up call for the bodies that ensure NGOs are able to access the United Nations.”