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At UN, HOSI Wien Wins  NGO Vote 19 to 6, Syria Offers Evidence of Abuse

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 28 -- The working day after the Australian Lesbian Medical Association won a vote at the UN for recommendation as special consultative status to ECOSOC, Austria-based Homosexuelle Initative Wien (HOSI Wien) won, by exactly the same vote.

When ALMA's application came up on May 24, Pakistan sought to put it off, asking for a copy of a scientific paper mentioned in its application. Bulgaria took the floor to call this a delay tactic, and called for a vote.

On May 28, it was Belgium calling for the vote on HOSI Wien.

There are 19 members of the NGO Committee. Two were again listed as "absent" -- Burundi and Cuba. Of those listed as present, nine voted yes, six voted no, and two abstained.

The nine "Yes" votes as recorded by Inner City Press in the room were the USA, Venezuela, Belgium, India, Israel, Nicaragua, Peru and Turkey.

The six "No" votes were China, Morocco -- which also opposed or questioned groups dealing with Western Sahara -- Pakistan, Russia, Senegal and Sudan.

The abstainers were Kyrgyzstan and Mozambique, which Secretary General Ban Ki-moon just visited.

Inner City Press has asked, does Ban's Secretariat monitor this NGO Committee, and try to assert leadership?

On the other hand, the US on May 24 alone blocked or delayed the Islamic African Relief Agency, saying it funded Osama Bin Laden, and asking for more information: which UN agencies funded it?

Sudan complained that while the US question blocked the groups, questions about ALMA did not. But ALMA had the votes. Did the Islamic African Relief Agency? Apparently not.

  In other May 28 morning action, Russia noted that the Assyrian National Congress "has no website," and asked for an update on its work.

  Syria -- not "Assyria" -- spoke on another item, offering to provide evidence of abuse of refugees in camps in neighboring countries. And so it goes at the UN. Watch this site.

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