ECOSOC Panel at the United Nations - October 06
LSVD is one of the groups that has applied for ECOSOC
LSVD is one of the groups that has applied for ECOSOC status and is up for debate in December 2006, but we’re going to more broadly focus on all the groups together.
Click here to listen to the speech
or copy the link at the bottom of this page onto a new window. We are at an historical moment, because we have come here to present our issues and to show our diversity.
Also, this week has seen an attempt, or the beginning of an attempt iby Norway to put LGBT issues on the agenda of the Human Rights Council; and we have been very happy to be able bring our voices together at this stage.
In fact our Latin American colleagues have had the opportunity to speak with the Grulag and to ask them to get involved. We have already heard why we feel that LGBT rights are human rights, but now we are just going to describe the concrete difficulty we have had in even getting something as basic as ECOSOC status, which is not denied to any other category of NGO. I mean even a country that does not allow conscientious objection will still be allowed to speak in this forum. It’s also very practically a necessary tool because for us to be able to speak in our own name and to even announce an event in own name is just also a basic right.
This is a story that goes back fifteen years for ILGA and its members. Even so, for some reason that we have not being able to identify, there is at least one small Lesbian NGO that does have ECOSOC status and that spoke in the plenary this week, Coalition of Active Lesbians from Australia.
But since that time, every attempt to get international and national LGBT groups recognition has been denied. We are going to talk about the fact that since last year there is now a total of eleven NGOs - two global NGOs, ILGA and the Metropolitan Community Church - and national and regional NGOs from Africa, Europe, Latin America and North America who have tried for this status.
We want also to really comment on the courage of Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe for being the first lesbian and gay organization in Africa to take their case to the UN and their work with the Coalition of African Lesbians.
When this is examined by the Committee next year, it will be very hard for people from the global South to argue that this is not human rights work that they are engaging in Africa.
I’m already very proud with what we have achieved this year. In January, when I got the call on a Friday that on Monday, on the initiative of Iran and Sudan, we were going to be taken off the agenda without even being heard, which has not been done for years at the UN, we were struggling. We got a lot of letters then, but they still voted us out of the NGO Committee; in fact in July they were not able to sustain that, except in the case of ILGA, but the other NGOs are still on the table. I have heard from some of the diplomats that this is the first time in twelve years that ECOSOC is not closing the NGO Committee chapter. So, in a sense, we have taken issue here that the UN will have to deal with.
Member of LSVD and ILGA Co-secretary GeneralAudio Link: