Action Alert: ECOSOC to vote on ILGA accreditation

Published: July 19, 2011

What’s up?
 
Next Monday, 25 July 2011, the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) is due to vote on whether to accredit ILGA, the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association.
 
ECOSOC accreditation governs whether NGOs can attend UN meetings, submit written statements, make oral interventions, host panels – even get in the door of UN buildings.  NGOs working on these issues address important human rights questions and it is critical that they have a voice at the UN.  It is particularly important that ILGA, as a global federation of LGBTI organisations, no longer be denied a voice at the UN.
 
The attached fact sheet provides more information about the key issues.
 
What can I do?
 
The vote will be extremely close, and your support is urgently needed!
 
Listed below are all the ECOSOC States by region. If you live in or have connections with any of these States, please write to them or call them TODAY.
  
In Latin America/Caribbean:
 
Argentina, Bahamas, Chile, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Venezuela
 
Support of as many as possible of these Latin American/Caribbean countries will be critical. In particular:
 
•      Nicaragua and Venezuela each abstained on a procedural “no action motion”, designed to prevent consideration of ILGA’s application. It is therefore very important that they be urged to support the application on its merits.
 
•      Peru was the only Spanish-speaking Latin American State not to endorse a recent joint statement on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity, so its support will also be important.
 
•      It is also urgent that the Bahamas and Saint Kitts and Nevis be encouraged to vote in favour of ILGA’s application.
 
You may point out that these States have all endorsed OAS resolutions on sexual orientation, gender identity and human rights, confirming that these States see sexual orientation and gener identity as legitimate human rights issues that need to be addressed by NGOs.
 
In Asia:
 
Bangladesh, China, India, Iraq, Japan, Mongolia, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Saudi Arabia
 
•      Japan has been consistently supportive.  South Korea has usually supported these issues in the past, and needs to be encouraged to do so again. 
 
•      The Philippines and India need to be encouraged to support, and we understand that India has indicated it will do so.
 
•      Mongolia supported a recent joint statement on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity, and need to be encouraged to stand by that commitment and support ILGA’s application.
 
•      China abstained on a recent UN resolution on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity, but supported a no-action motion to block consideration of ILGA’s application. It should be urged to at least abstain on the upcoming vote.
 
In Africa:
 
Cameroon, Comoros, Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Malawi, Mauritius, Morocco, Namibia, Rwanda, Senegal, Zambia,
 
•      Gabon supported a 2008 General Assembly joint statement on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity and needs to be urged to also support the participation of NGOs working on these issues;
 
•      Guinea-Bissau has also supported previous joint statements, and previous NGO applications for ECOSOC accreditation and should be encouraged to again vote in favour;
 
•      Mauritius voted in favour of the recent UN resolution on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity, and should be urged to support the accreditation of NGOs working on these issues.
 
•      Rwanda supported a recent joint statement on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity and should be urged to support the participation of NGOs working on these issues.
 
•      Côte d’Ivoire and Malawi have abstained on previous NGO applications for ECOSOC accreditation and should be encouraged to do so again;
 
•      Zambia abstained on the recent UN resolution on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity, and should be encouraged not to oppose the application;
 
•      Other African States might also be encouraged to at least abstain, rather than opposing the application.
 
In Central and Eastern Europe:
 
Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Russian Federation, Slovakia, Ukraine
 
•      Estonia, Hungary, Latvia and Slovakia are all expected to support ILGA’s application;
 
•      Ukraine voted in favour of the recent UN resolution on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity, and should be urged to also support the accreditation of NGOs working on these issues.
 
•      Russia has consistently opposed these issues, but should be reminded of its obligation to respect Council of Europe positions on these issues.
 
In the Western Group:
 
Australia, Belgium, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Malta, Norway, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States of America
 
•      All Western Group States are expected to support the application, and can be encouraged to lobby States in other regions with which they have good relations.
 
How do I contact my government?
 
Please approach any contacts you may have within your country’s Foreign Ministry.  A list of Ministries of Foreign Affairs for each country can be found at:
http://www.ediplomat.com/dc/foreign_ministries.htm
 
You may also wish to send a copy of any correspondence to your country’s Ambassador or mission in Geneva.  A list of Geneva missions is available at:
http://tinyurl.com/t2cwt
 
What do I tell them?
 
Urge your government to support ILGA’s application for accreditation. It may be helpful to emphasise that this is a question of basic non-discriminatory access and maintaining a fair process.  The recent resolution on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity, adopted by the UN Human Rights Council, demonstrates that these are legitimate human rights issues currently under consideration within the UN agenda. Your government doesn’t have to agree with the position of every NGO, but NGOs are entitled to participate in the work of the UN and make their perspectives known.
 
Best wishes, and good luck!
 
Patricia Curzi,
UN Liaison Officer
ILGA – International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association
patriciacurzi@ilga.org
 
John Fisher
Co-Director, ARC International
john@arc-international.net

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