UN Accreditation For Gay Rights Group

The U.N. Economic and Social Council approved the US-based International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission application for a “consultative status.” With many countries still prosecuting laws against homosexual activity and gay rights, this accreditation from the UN has been a great leap forward. The Washington Post reports:

The U.N. Economic and Social Council voted Monday to accredit the U.S.-based International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission after strong lobbying by the Obama administration.

Obama, in a statement issued by the White House, welcomed the vote as an “important step forward for human rights.” With the group’s inclusion, he said “the United Nations is closer to the ideals on which it was founded, and to values of inclusion and equality to which the United States is deeply committed.”

The group will now be able to attend U.N. meetings, submit statements and collaborate with both government and U.N. agencies on human rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, commission officials said.

The 54-member council, known as ECOSOC, approved the U.S.-based group’s application for consultative status by a vote of 23-13 with 13 abstentions. Many of those voting “no” – including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Russia and China – cited procedural reasons.

But the U.S. government and 14 members of Congress who supported the organization’s application said they believe it had not been approved previously because the group promotes gay rights.

The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, which has offices in South Africa, Argentina and the Philippines, has been trying since 2007 to get consultative status with ECOSOC, which serves as the main U.N. forum for discussing international economic and social issues.

Story continues at Washington Post

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