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After UN Culture War, ICP Asks Ban of LGBT Benefit, He Calls It Right

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, January 8 -- In the budget committee showdown at the UN in late December, an issue that was almost voted on and then was deferred at least until March was  Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's policy position -- or "executive order," as one delegate called it -- on same sex marriage.

  This was Ban's administrative action to pay benefits for LGBT families.

  "Between the OIC and African countries, it's going down," one Permanent Representative told Inner City Press.  But ultimately it got put off, at least until March.

  Ban Ki-moon in a speech to the UN General Assembly on January 8 said "I must express my deep concern that the General Assembly was unable to agree on many important management issues in December. I trust that you will resolve your differences and review your working methods when your discussions resume in March."

After the speech, Inner City Press asked Ban Ki-moon, video here:

Inner City Press: in your speech you said you were dissatisfied with the General Assembly not acting on management issues. I wanted to know if that means LBGT or same sex benefits for UN staff, and what would you have the Assembly do?

SG Ban: on LGBT, I have made my position clear. This is an issue of human dignity and there should be no discrimination whatsoever for any staff, any people, on the basis of sexual orientation or religion or belief. So this is the fundamental principle of human rights, and that is why, on the basis of that I have taken some administrative measures to allow the same and equal treatment for the staff who are having that sexual orientation. This is, I think, the proper thing to do.

  But what will the General Assembly do in March? What lobbying is taking place behind the scenes? We'll stay on this.

Other items in the late December crunch included the Capital Master Plan, the Extraordinary Chambers court in Cambodia, revised estimates for the Ebola mission UNMEER and for the Human Rights Council (regarding cut-backs at which, see this Inner City Press story) and UNHQ long term accommodation needs, otherwise known as building on a current New York City playground.

Another item concerns the UN's UMOJA system, with cost overruns and corruption scandals. One former UMOJA official, Paul van Essche who was caught up in a scandal -- "PHP irregularities," Inner City Press exclusive coverage here -- now announces he'll resurface as UNICEF's chief of information technology in January 2015. We'll have more on this.


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