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ECOSOC: LSVD, the German LGBT federation and ILGA-Europe rejected

in WORLD, 22/05/2006

Two LGBT associations rejected. UN NGO Committee on discriminatory trend.

LSVD, the German LGBT federation and ILGA-Europe’s applications to obtain observer status at the United Nations were rejected last week at the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)’s Committee on Non-governmental organizations.

“It is sad that an august body such as the NGO Committee would be the source of discrimination against LGBT people. The rejection of LSVD and ILGA-Europe this May, following the rejection in January of Danish Association LBL and the International Lesbian and Gay Association, clearly demonstrates the homophobia of many States sitting at the NGO Committee” says Rosanna Flamer Caldera, Co-Secretary General of ILGA. “This sadly coincides with the second commemoration of the International Day Against Homophobia, May 17”.


Votes to reject LSVD and ILGA’s Europe’s applications on a proposal of Iran went as follows:

- 9 in favor (Cameroon, China, Côte d’Ivoire, Iran, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Senegal, Sudan and Zimbabwe)
- 7 against (Chile, Colombia, France, Germany, Peru, Romania and the United States)
- 2 abstentions (India and Turkey)
- 1 member not present (Cuba).


Compared to January's vote there has been some progress: the U.S. went from against to “in favor”, Colombia from abstention to “in favor” and Cuba from against to “not present”.

ILGA thanks activists and NGOs around the world for having campaigned on the issue. The United States of America changed its position after a concerted campaign by the Human Rights Campaign, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Human Rights Watch and IGLHRC that was supported by Representatives Barney Frank and Tammy Baldwin

The representative of Iran, supported by Sudan argued member groups of ILGA were now applying for ECOSOC status when this NGO had not, according to her, succeeded in proving it had taking sufficient measures to prevent or fight paedophilia.

ILGA’s constitution clearly condemns paedophilia and a very strict set of rules makes sure no association which wishes to affiliate with the NGO condones paedophilia.

“Neither ILGA nor its two members were given the opportunity to counter this slander which was given without any substantiation, after they all had previously put in writing their condemnation of paedophilia” says Philipp Braun, Co-secretary general of ILGA. At this stage, we, and the rest of the world with us, can only witness how a certain number of governments will use any excuse to block the door to any lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender group in the United Nations.

“Our struggle is not about “special rights” (the term use by the Holy See in its statement at the NGO Committee) but about plain and simple equality” he adds. The outrageous statement of the Holy See denying LGBT people human rights is available on ILGA’s website.

“We are satisfied though: ILGA’s campaign to support its member groups in their application for ECOSOC and have homosexuality and gender identity come out at the UN is going well and has forced this committee to engage a dialogue on our issues”. ILGA is also asking LGBT groups which are not member of its federation of 500 LGBT groups to apply for observer status at the UN. “It will be most interesting to see how the NGO Committee will react then…”

Germany stressed that the accusation of paedophilia was absurd against an NGO such as ILGA Europe which enjoys consultative status with the Council of Europe, receives project funding from the European Union and has spoken to the OSCE on human rights defenders. In general statements before the vote and explanations of position, the representatives of Germany, France, Chile, Romania, India and Peru, noting that during the session, applications of two NGOs addressing the same issue had been rejected, expressed concern that there seemed to be a discriminatory trend. “As homosexuality was a delicate issue, a constructive dialogue between the Committee and the NGO would have been welcome” they noted.

Earlier this year in January, the NGO Committee had dismissed the applications of two NGOs without giving them a fair hearing for the first time of its history, namely the International Lesbian and Gay Association and the Danish Association of Gays and Lesbians (LBL).

In July the full 53 member ECOSOC will consider the rejection of ILGA, LBL, LSVD and ILGA-Europe by the NGO Committee as it considers the Committee’s report.


You can see on ECOSOC website whether your state is a member


END


ILGA, the International Lesbian and Gay Association is a federation of 500 groups around the world fighting for equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.



More information on the votes can be found on the Ecosoc press releases at the following links:

May 12
May 16
May 17
May 18

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