Action Alert – FELGTB

URGENT: ECOSOC ACTION ALERT!

What’s up?

Next Monday, July 21 2008, the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) is due to vote on whether to accredit the NGO Federación Estatal de Lesbianas, Gays, Transexuales y Bisexuales (FELGTB), a Spanish NGO which addresses human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

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.

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 NGO 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, Cuba, El Salvador, Guyana, Haiti, Paraguay, Saint Lucia:

likely to abstain – lobby to support

Support of at least some of these Latin American/Caribbean countries will be critical. You may point out that many of them endorsed the recent OAS resolution on sexual orientation, gender identity and human rights.

 

In Asia:

South Korea, Philippines: – lobby to support;

Indonesia: likely to vote no – lobby to abstain (last year, Indonesia initially abstained, but then voted against following regional pressure).

 

In Africa:

Angola, Cape Verde, Cameroon, Congo, Mozambique: lobby to abstain;

Guinea-Bissau: lobby to support (last year Guinea-Bissau voted in support of accrediting NGOs working on sexual orientation and gender identity issues).

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 New York.  A list of New York missions is available at:

http://www.un.org/members/missions.shtml

What do I tell them?

Urge your government to support the NGO application. 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!