ECOSOC dismisses two LGBT organizations without fair hearing!
ILGA Press Release 25 January 2006In an unprecedented move, the Economic and Social Council dismissed the applications of the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA) and the Danish Association of Gays and Lesbians (LBL*) for observer Status at the United Nations this Monday January 23 2006. For the first time in its history, the ECOSOC dismissed summarily the application of an NGO without the hearings accorded to other applicants. “It is a clear violation of due process and an attempt to discriminate against LGBT NGOs on procedural grounds” says Rosanna Flamer Caldera, Co-secretary General of ILGA,
a worldwide network of over 400 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender groups.
Both ILGA and LBL were made to go through a stringent process in anticipation of a hearing with the NGO committee. However, in a move influenced by Egypt and the Organization of Islamic Conferences (OIC) the two organizations were arbitrarily dismissed in a joint motion put to the NGO committee by Iran, Sudan and their newest ally, the United States. The United States had, in the past, voted favourably for ILGA in 2002. In this instance the Bush Administration found fit to vote alongside countries they have considered international pariahs in all other contexts to deny LGBT people a voice at the UN - a right given to any other category of NGO.
Vote to summarily dismiss the applications of ILGA and LBL was as follows:
Yes: Cameroon, China, Cuba, Iran, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Senegal, Sudan, United States of America, Zimbabwe. No: Chile, France, Germany, Peru, Romania; Abstention: Colombia, India, Turkey. Not present: Ivory Coast.“This is again a clear attempt to silence the voices of gays, lesbians, bisexual and transgender people at the United Nations” says Kursad Kahramanoglu, Co-secretary General of ILGA.
“The issue, we as people, will not go away: we will push for this unprecedented action to be reconsidered at the full ECOSOC”. ILGA’s next world conference to be held in Geneva (March 27 – April 3 2006) simultaneously to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights will be an occasion to protest this injustice
and ensure the stealth tactics of Egypt, Iran and Sudan and other countries known for their horrendous Human Rights records do not go unnoticed. ILGA will not allow this issue to be pushed off the agenda in order that countries can continue to persecute and discriminate against their LGBT citizens without answering to anyone. ILGA will fight this latest setback. It will continue to defend the rights of LGBT persons worldwide and it will continue to ask the United Nations to consider the rights of all persons regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity.
ILGA wishes to thank the German Foreign Office, the Danish Foreign Office, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International** for their support in this issue and calls on Human Rights Defenders everywhere to fight for the non discriminatory treatment of all LGBT NGOs who have just as much right to be at the UN as others.
*Landsforeningen for Bosser og Lesbiske
**ILGA would also like to thank the following NGOs
as well as LGBT groups worldwide for their support:
Action Canada for Population and Development, Amnesty International, Arc International, Global Rights, Human Rights Watch, International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, International Service for Human Rights, Rights Australia, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.MORE INFORMATIONUS based National Gay and Lesbian Task Force yesterday put out a strong press release condemning the Bush administration's vote in the UN On the ECOSOC and ILGA48 countries have publicly supported sexual orientation at the CHR between 2003 and 200On ILGA's work at the UN in 2005A list of resources to better understand the debate on sexual orientation and gender identity at the UNPress release United Nations (Extracts)
NGO COMMITTEE RECOMMENDS 11 ORGANIZATIONS FOR CONSULTATIVE STATUS WITH ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL
The Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations, in two meetings today, recommended 11 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) for consultative status with the Economic and Social Council, and decided, by recorded roll-call votes, not to recommend two others whose work focused on combating discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
A standing committee of the Council, the 19-member body uses various criteria to recommend general, special or roster status with the Economic and Social Council, including the applicant’s mandate, governance and financial regime. Organizations that have general and special consultative status can attend meetings of the Council and circulate statements of a certain length. Those with general status can, in addition, speak at meetings and propose items for the Council’s agenda, while NGOs with roster status can only attend meetings.
The Committee decided not to recommend consultative status for International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA), an international organization based in Belgium, and Danish National Association for Gays and Lesbians, a national organization based in Denmark, by votes of 10 in favour of denying the applications to 5 against, with 3 abstentions, in both cases.
The Committee took those decisions after motions for deferral of the debate were rejected by votes of 10 against to 5 in favour, with 3 abstentions.Emphasizing that the Committee had taken two decisions which “will haunt us for a long time”, Germany’s representative said it had committed an act of discrimination against two NGOs whose sole purpose was to combat discrimination. The message the majority of the Committee had sent to the NGOs and to the world was clear: discrimination against persons on the ground of their sexual orientation was okay. The decisions reflected badly on a Committee which had been criticized in the past for introducing partisan political considerations into its work in a manner which was inappropriate for an administrative committee of ECOSOC.
Speaking in support of the Danish NGO, the representative of Denmark, an observer in the Committee, said that it was a disturbing and unpleasant surprise that so many members stood ready to reject the NGO’s application. The NGO worked in a professional manner and had produced valuable work. He had not heard any valid reasons for voting against the application. Some countries, which were not even members of the Committee, had undertaken a campaign to ensure that the Committee did not recommend status for the two organizations, he stated, adding that such a decision was a rejection of one of the fundamental principles guiding the work of the United Nations, namely non-discrimination.