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Mar 1, '11 re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption

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At UN, Gay Group Denied Consultative Status 8-7, Kyrgyz Pivot, India on Dalits

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 23, updated -- Culture wars continued at the UN on Monday when the International Lesbian and Gay Association came up for a vote for consultative status in the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations.

First, countries which opposed ILGA tried to stop them on a so called no-action vote, emphasizing that the group had declined to answer a new round of questionnaires, calling them discriminatory. In February, as exclusively covered by Inner City Press, ILGA was blocked by a no-action vote, 9-7.

This time the blocking vote failed, 7 to 7 with several abstentions:

US- No. Venezuela- abstain. Belgium- No. Bulgaria- No. Burundi- Yes. China- Yes. India – No. Israel- No. Kyrgyzstan- Abstain. Morocco- Yes. Mozambique- Abstain. Nicaragua- Abstain. Pakistan- Yes. Peru- No. Russia- Yes. Senegal- Yes. Sudan- Yes. Turkey- No

After that vote, Belgium asked the committee chair for “rules of procedure for dummies.” Venezuela took exception to being called a dummy. Things proceeded without humor.

Now the vote turned against ILGA, 8 to 7. The swing vote was Kygyzstan, which abstained on the no-action vote, but vote “no” against ILGA:

Sudan- No. Turkey- Yes. US- Yes. Venezuela- Abstain. Belgium- Yes. Bulgaria- Yes. Burundi- No. China- No. India- Yes. Israel –Yes. Kygryzstan – No. Morocco- No. Mozambique- Abstain. Nicaragua- Abstain. Pakistan- No. Peru- Yes. Russia – No. Senegal- No.

The International Foundation for Electoral Systems was delayed, 8-6, on a no action motion. Various groups were delayed by questions. For example, Human Rights House Foundation was blocked by a question from Morocco, backed by China and Sudan.  (See update below.)

 And the International Dalit Solidarity Network was blocked by India, which questioned if the caste based system is not already adequately addressed by the Indian government. The Dalit are... untouchables. And so it goes at the UN.

Update: the Human Rights House Foundation has written in to say

We are glad to see that you pay attention to the work of the NGO Committee -- the process in the Committee needs more attention and should get on the radar of the media. On 23 May... some delegations including Morocco needed more time and were requesting that our application is dealt with on 24 May. For your information, HRHF has applied for ECOSOC consultative status in 2005 and received since 2007 51 questions from the NGO Committee. We have been deferred many times, but at this May 2011 session we have not been deferred and on 24 May 2011 the NGO Committee recommended by consensus that the consultative status should be granted to HRHF.”

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At UN, As Georgia Loses HRC Bid It Blames Russian Lobbying, 5 Votes for Syria

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 20 -- Of the 17 countries running Friday for 15 seats on the UN Human Rights Council, only two were going to lose.

  Inner City Press asked the Permanent Representative of Georgia Alexander Lomaia what he felt his chances were, facing off against Romania and the Czech Republic for two Eastern European group seats.

Ambassador Lomaia said, without hesitation, that Russia had been asking countries not to vote for Georgia, that at least two delegations had disclosed this. In many UN fora, Georgia and Russia exchange rights of reply regarding Abkhazia and South Ossetia. This is just one more battle.

After the election, in which Georgia got 89 votes but still lost to Romania's 131 and the Czech Republic's 148, Inner City Press asked a Russian diplomat about the result. He smiled and said, “Oops.”

Nicaraguan representatives said they liked their chances, but they too took a loss, despite receiving 98 votes. Austria pointed out that the two votes cast for Australia were probably for it.

  Syria tried to play down the five votes it received, after postponing its run to 2014, to mere errors. If that was a write in campaign, it wasn't much.  Kuwait, Syria's replacement, waltzed in with 166 votes.

UN's Ban & Kuwait minister, human rights not shown

The Permanent Representative of the Philippines, another winner with a clear or unopposed slate, acknowledged to Inner City Press that there are human rights issues in his country, such as unsolved killings of journalists. But, he said, the trend line is up.

   Later on Friday in the same General Assembly Hall, military bands of China and the US played together. Only at the UN.

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Click for Mar 1, '11 re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption

 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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