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At UN, Gay Rights Debated, NGO Admitted as Egypt, Saudi Arabia & Russia Call It Selective

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 19 -- The culture war at the UN, to block the granting to the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, re-ignited on July 19 in the ECOSOC committee. The blocking was over-ridden, and the non governmental organization granted consultative status with the UN, on a vote of 23 in favor, 13 against, and 13 abstaining.

  As Inner City Press exclusively reported in June, in the NGO Committee the application of IGLHRC was “deferred” at the request of Egypt, China and Russia among others.

   On July 19, US Deputy Permanent Representative Rosemary DiCarlo introduced an ECOSOC resolution to overrule the NGO Committee and grant consultative status to IGLHRC. In statements before the vote, Saudi Arabia and Egypt outright opposed the group and U.S. motion.

   Eight more speakers signed up. Belgium's Permanent Representative Grauls, on behalf of the European Union, spoke in favor of IGLHRC, saying a “no” vote would be discrimination. Norway and UK DPR Parham echoed this, as did Argentina, where gay marriage was just legalized.

  St. Lucia questioned if gay and lesbian rights are the priority in this time of economic crisis, and answered “no.”

Egypt's Maged at UN, gay rights not shown

Australia tried to respond to St. Lucia, but Ambassador Maged of Egypt cut in that the time for general statements had passed. So, a rare attempt at actual debate in the UN was immediately cut off, by a diplomat said to be seeking a UN job.

  The voting began, then was halted by a point of order. "What does the Present button mean?" Then a question, are your votes reflect correctly on the screen? But the screen was black.
 The resolution passed, the NGO was admitted, 23 in favor, 13 against, 13 abstaining and some not voting, including Iraq. Those voting no included China, Russia, Velezuela, Morocco, Malaysia, Egypt and Pakistan. Abstainers included Turkey, India, Ghana and Ukraine...

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At UN, Gay Rights NGO Blocked from Consultative Status by Egypt, Qatar, Russia and China, Turkey Abstains

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 3 -- The UN rebuffed a gay rights group on Thursday, in a little covered bureaucratic meeting of its NGO Committee. The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission had applied for consultative status. Egypt, Qatar and others peppered the group with questions, including on whether its advocacy for gay rights might impinge on freedom of religion and of "discussion."

Finally, the US called for a vote. Egypt objected, saying that its questions to the group had not been "answered in a straight way." Some in the quarter-filled meeting room laughed. But Egypt persisted, prevailing in placing its motion, to put the application on ice, ahead of the US's motion for an up or down vote on giving consultative status.

Standing openly with the US were Romania and the UK, which to its credit called the Inner City Press to the impending showdown. Ultimately on the vote, only three more countries took the US / UK position: Colombia, Peru and Israel.

Voting to block the gay rights group's access were Egypt, Qatar, Security Council Permanent members Russia and China, Angola, Burundi, Sudan and Pakistan. Turkey, ever the self conscious bridge, abstained.

Egypt's Mubarak and UN's Ban, said nothing about NGO exclusion

Qatar listed some if its questions, about whether the group sought "special rights for LGBT."

The UK said that allowing this block, based on repetitive questions, set a bad precedent. Even if the group answered every single questions, the UK said, the detractors would never be satisfied.

And for now, at least in the NGO committee, the detractors are in the majority.

Footnote: Inner City Press asked the spokesman for General Assembly president Ali Treki for a statement. Upon taking office, Treki called homosexuality an abomination. Now his spokesman's draft response talks about tolerance, but has a paragraph crossed out. But at today's UN the votes are what they are.

 Click here for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters footage, about civilian deaths in Sri Lanka.

Click here for Inner City Press' March 27 UN debate

Click here for Inner City Press March 12 UN (and AIG bailout) debate

Click here for Inner City Press' Feb 26 UN debate

Click here for Feb. 12 debate on Sri Lanka

Click here for Inner City Press' Jan. 16, 2009 debate about Gaza

Click here for Inner City Press' review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate

Click here for Inner City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger

Click here from Inner City Press' December 12 debate on UN double standards

Click here for Inner City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics

and this October 17 debate, on Security Council and Obama and the UN.

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These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

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