URGENT: ECOSOC ACTION ALERT!
This Friday, July 20 2007, the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) is due to vote on whether to accredit two NGOs which address human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
The two NGOs under consideration are:
- the Coalition gaie et lesbienne du Québec; and
- the Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights.
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. These NGOs address important human rights issues and it is critical that they have a voice at the UN.
The attached fact sheet provides more information about the core issues.
What can I do?
The vote will be extremely close – voting predictions suggest that a single vote could make the difference between winning or losing, and there is a real possibility that the NGOs might be rejected.
Listed below are key States that need to be encouraged to support the applications. If you live in or have connections with any of these States, please write to them or call them TODAY.
In Latin America/Caribbean:
Barbados: could vote no – lobby to abstain or support;
Bolivia: still considering its position – lobby to support;
Costa Rica: likely to abstain – lobby to support (Costa Rica supported the German LGBT NGO last year, but abstained on other votes);
Cuba: will probably not vote – lobby to support;
El Salvador: could vote no – lobby to support (or at least abstain);
Guyana: likely to abstain – lobby to support;
Haiti: could vote no or abstain – lobby to support or at least not vote against (last year, Haiti voted against the LGBT NGOs in July, but abstained in December);
Paraguay: still considering its position – lobby to support.
India: will likely abstain – lobby to support;
Indonesia: likely to vote no – lobby to abstain (last year, Indonesia initially abstained, but then voted against following regional pressure);
Philippines: likely to abstain – lobby to support;
Sri Lanka: likely to abstain – might be worth approaching to support;
Thailand: likely to abstain – lobby to support.
Malawi: likely to vote against – lobby to abstain;
South Africa: likely to abstain (or vote no) – lobby to support (last year South Africa voted to accept the NGO Committee’s recommendations to deny status in July, then abstained on the substantive vote in December).
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://programs.ssrc.org/gsc/datasphere/ministries/
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:
What do I tell them?
Urge your government to support the NGO applications, and provide them with a copy of the attached fact sheet.
Some States will support this as a question of access and fairness, but do not want their support to be seen as an endorsement of sexual orientation or gender identity issues. It may therefore be helpful to emphasise that this is a question of basic non-discriminatory access and maintaining a fair process. Your government doesn’t have to agree with the position of every NGO, but these NGOs are entitled to participate in the work of the UN and make their perspective known.
Best wishes, and good luck!