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CSO voice is limited: Duituturaga

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Update: 8:00PM CIVIL society organisations who work in human rights have difficulty raising their voices at the United Nations level and the challenges are from within their own countries.

Following revelations made today by the former head of the United Nations Development Programme and former New Zealand PM Helen Clark, the head of the Pacific Islands Association of NGOs Emele Duituturaga agreed.

PIANGO is the local host organisation working with CIVICUS, the World Alliance for Citizen Participation which organises the annual International Civil Society Week (ICSW) conference currently underway in Suva this week.

ICSW 2017 is the largest CIVICUS event with over 700 delegates representing organisations from 109 countries deliberating on the theme 'Our Planet, Our Struggles, Our Future'.

Ms Duituturaga responded diplomatically to requests for an explanation on Ms Clark's comments that the UN bureaucracy was not the reason there was not a closer working relationship between CSO and the UN.

"The UN is bureaucratic but it is the global inter-governmental agency that we have to engage with. There are no formal mechanisms for CSO inputs and engagement," the PIANGO boss said.

"The challenge is how the voices of civil society at the national and community can be heard not only at the UN but especially by members in their respective countries."

She said PIANGO would continue to provide the role it currently does which was to be the regional platform to make the necessary linkages and space for dialogue. 

"Yes, there are challenges with member states," Ms Duituturaga said.

?Often, the space for CSOs to speak out on issues such as human rights violation is limited and restrictive.?

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