Ongoing struggle for LGBT NGOs to get the right to speak at the United Nations in their own name
In 2002 the UN ECOSOC Committee held its last vote on ILGA's previous application for ECOSOC status - voting (29 against, 17 for, 7 abstain) to withhold the status from ILGA. The ECOSOC status allows NGOs to attend UN meetings and speak in their own name.See UN press releaseAlso see UN voting records as compiled by Arc International
In May 2005 five LGBT NGOs filled for ECOSOC status: The International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA), the European Region of the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA-Europe), Landsforeningen for Bosser og Lesbiske (LBL) from Denmark, Coalition Gaie et Lesbienne du Québec (CGLQ) from Canada and Lesben- und Schwulenverband in Deutschland (LSVD) from Germany.
In the current (January 19 to 27) session of the ECOSOC NGO Committee ILGA and Danish association LBL are on the agenda for consideration. ILGA-Europe, CGLQ and LSVD will be considered in May. We had expected for ILGA and LBL to be only cursorily debated (as has happened in the past at first readings) and for a hearing of representatives and a vote to take place in May.
On Friday we got news that there is a move to have ILGA's and LBL's accreditation applications disposed of summarily without even the hearings accorded to other applicants.
This move is without precedent in ECOSOC history! It is a clear violation of due process and an attempt to discriminate against LGBT NGOs on procedural grounds. In 2002 ILGA was given a hearing even so it was technically a hearing on its 1994 suspension. The 2005 application is procedurally considered a new application. LBL is also clearly a new application entitled to a hearing.Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International ask countries sitting on the ECOSOC Committee to give ILGA a fair treatment
The following letter was faxed this Friday January 20 2006 from Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International to all 19 Heads of Mission for states on the ECOSOC Committee on Nongovernmental Organizations in New York. It should be self-explanatory. We will follow up with a list of contact information for the missions should you want to send your own faxes in support.
Re: ECOSOC Committee on Nongovernmental Organizations
Application of International Lesbian & Gay Association (ILGA)
Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International are concerned about reports that some countries on the ECOSOC NGO Committee may attempt to dispose summarily of the accreditation application of the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA) without even the hearing accorded to other applicants.
The United Nations should accredit non-governmental organizations on a non-discriminatory basis, and should give due process to all applicants.
We urge you to ensure see that ILGA receives the same treatment and full consideration due all non-governmental organizations seeking consultative status.
Global Advocacy Director
Human Rights Watch
Amnesty International Representative at the United Nations