Current Affairs

UN votes today on accreditation for gay rights groups

PinkNews Staff Writer July 20, 2007
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The United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) is due to vote today on whether to accredit two non-governmental organisations (NGOs) who address human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

It is thought nine countries are going to vote against accrediting the groups, from Quebec in Canada and Sweden.

ECOSOC accreditation governs whether NGOs can attend UN meetings, submit written statements, make oral interventions, host panels and get access to UN buildings.

The vote is expected to be extremely close.

Some counties will support the NGOs as a question of access and fairness, but do not want their support to be seen as an endorsement of sexual orientation or gender identity issues.

The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission has mounted a campaign with ARC-International in calling for support for the two LGBT groups.

They have compiled a list of the countries likely to vote against or abstain from accrediting the Coalition gaie et lesbienne du Québec and the Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights.

Barbados: could vote no

Bolivia: still considering its position

Costa Rica: likely to abstain – Costa Rica supported a German LGBT NGO last year, but abstained on other votes

Cuba: will probably not vote

El Salvador: could vote no

Guyana: likely to abstain

Haiti: could vote no or abstain – last year, Haiti voted against the LGBT NGOs in July, but abstained in December

Paraguay: still considering its position

India: likely to abstain

Indonesia: likely to vote no – last year, Indonesia initially abstained, but then voted against following regional pressure

Philippines: likely to abstain

Sri Lanka: likely to abstain

Thailand: likely to abstain

Malawi: likely to vote against

South Africa: likely to abstain – last year South Africa voted to accept the NGO Committee’s recommendations to deny status in July, then abstained on the substantive vote in December.

ECOSOC promotes international economic and social co-operation and development. It has 54 members who are elected by the General Assembly for a three-year term.

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