Fourteen members of Congress submitted a letter to the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) last Thursday, urging them to recognize the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) as an accredited UN organization. According to Foreign Policy, the letter asked UN members to “support the vital role of civil society in the United Nations,” by approving the group’s application. The letter continued, “Please do not allow the voices of marginalized people to be silence by discrimination and procedural roadblocks.”
According to the Associated Press, the US-based organization has been trying to gain consultative status with ECOSOC since 2007. The current US government and the fourteen supporting members of Congress argue that the group’s affiliation with gay rights has prevented UN approval. Last month, Egypt, supported by Angola, Burundi, China, Pakistan, Qatar, Russia, and Sudan, led efforts to successfully invoke a “no motion” procedure to prevent review of the application, reports Foreign Policy. According to the Associated Press, the Congressional letter criticized the UN committee charged with accrediting NGOs for blocking action on IGLBHRC”s case and is now encouraging the committee to “review all applications without discrimination.”
Last Friday, the US submitted a draft resolution to ECOSOC’s 54 members that awards ICLBHRC consultative status. According to the Associated Press, the committee is expected to vote on the proposed resolution today. Mark Komblau, spokesperson for the US Mission to the United Nations, acknowledged the importance of supporting the gay right’s group, saying, “The purpose of the NGO committee is to give civil society a strong voice at the UN, and that includes the important contribution that gay and lesbian groups like IGLHRC can make on issues like human rights and combating HIV/AIDS,” reports Foreign Policy. Currently, only nine of the thousands of groups with consultative status at ECOSOC are gay and lesbian organizations.