The Journalists and Writers Foundation (JWF) is an international civil society organization dedicated to peace, human rights and sustainable development. JWF promotes diversity and inclusion by creating forums for intellectual and social engagement, generates and shares knowledge with stakeholders, builds partnerships worldwide and develops policy recommendations for positive social change.
In cases where the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations has decided to recommend that the general or special consultative status of a non-governmental organization or its listing on the Roster be suspended or withdrawn, the non-governmental organization concerned shall be given written reasons for that decision and shall have an opportunity to present its response for appropriate consideration by the Committee as expeditiously as possible.
ECOSOC Resolution 1996/31 – Article 56
JWF received ECOSOC general consultative status in 2012, becoming the first and only NGO from Turkey to hold this status. Having this important status made the United Nations’ Global Agenda 2030 a priority area for JWF, particularly in terms of implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As Goal 16 and Goal 17 clearly indicate, collaboration among CSOs, intergovernmental organizations, and the UN Member States is crucial for the promotion of peaceful and inclusive societies. With this mission in mind, JWF has contributed to the 2030 Agenda by gathering civil society organizations from all around the world to facilitate a platform of best practices, disseminating the agenda of the UN throughout its network and sharing JWF’s experiences with a culture of peace through written and oral statements.
It is very unfortunate that the ever-narrowing democratic participation of NGOs, media, and other instruments of Turkey’s civil society has dwindled even more after July 2016. The Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights has reported that “more than a thousand  NGOs and trade unions  … were disbanded and liquidated without judicial proceedings.” * Following these numerous violations of the freedom of speech and as a result of the groundless claim of the Permanent Mission of Turkey to the UN – namely, that JWF no longer exists, despite the fact that JWF is an NGO registered in New York State – JWF‘s general consultative status with ECOSOC was revoked on 19 April 2017 during the UN ECOSOC meeting. JWF will take all necessary judicial actions against these fallacious claims within the US and international justice systems.
The Turkish government´s dictation for the withdrawal of JWF’s consultative status with ECOSOC was based on the fact that JWF’s operations were ended in Turkey by a post-coup emergency decree on 22 July 2016, which was issued due to JWF’s alleged associations with a fictitious terror organization. Once again, we must point out that JWF is a 501(c) non-governmental organization registered in New York State and has had its headquarters in New York since 2014.
The Turkish government exploited procedural flaws in the rules and misused its membership status at the relevant UN bodies to extend its massive crackdown on civil society in Turkey to the United Nations platform. The ensuing decision to revoke JWF’s consultative status clearly contradicts the UN’s promotion of active civil society participation in the 2030 Agenda and indeed Goal #17: “strengthening the means of global participation for sustainable development.”
Apart from Turkey’s increasing tendency toward dictatorship, there is also a growing concern about the intimidation of and reprisals against individuals and organizations that cooperate with the UN system. The withdrawal of JWF’s status clearly violates Article 56 of Resolution 1996/31, which indicates that the NGO concerned “shall be given written reasons for that decision and shall have an opportunity to present its response for appropriate consideration by the Committee.” JWF was neither informed in writing about this arbitrary action, nor was it given a platform to defend its twenty-three years of dedication to peace and the protection of human rights. JWF believes that any political approach to granting or withdrawing consultative status will harm the fairness and credibility of the Committee on NGOs as well as ECOSOC in general.
JWF’s dedication to peace, human rights and sustainable development has been proven by the many activities and projects that have been implemented ever since JWF received general consultative status with ECOSOC in July 2012. JWF’s quadrennial report submitted to the Committee on NGOs in June 2016 is more than enough to indicate that this decision is not fair, given JWF’s activities and performance. The decision is clearly politically driven and secured by the privileged position of member states against NGOs in the ECOSOC system.
JWF’s commitment to the UN’s 2030 Agenda is not bound by its consultative status, but by its values. Regardless of the political obstacles, JWF will continue to contribute to social justice and sustainable peace. Peace is worth every effort that JWF puts forth. With this spirit, JWF will keep carrying out its activities from the headquarters in New York in strong cooperation with various NGOs and transnational organizations. As the world is faced with increasing authoritarianism and a decline of democratic values, JWF expects the international community to stand in solidarity with civic and peaceful voices.