Saturday, January 28, 2006

US Promotes Bigotry at the UN

Human Rights Watch reports on the latest outrageous action by the global champion of human rights and democracy at the UN ["United Nations: U.S. Aligned With Iran in Anti-Gay Vote," Human Rights Watch, January 25, 2006]: "In a reversal of policy, the United States on Monday backed an Iranian initiative to deny United Nations consultative status to organizations working to protect the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people."

The U.S. was joined in this shameful action by Cameroon, China, Cuba, Iran, Pakistan, the Russian Federation, Senegal, Sudan, and Zimbabwe. Scott Long, director of the LGBT rights program at Human Rights Watch, termed it "a coalition of the homophobic." Chile, France, Germany, Peru, and Romania summoned the courage to vote for recommending consulatative status for the two groups and Colombia, India, Turkey, and Cote d' Ivoire all at least managed to not get in the way.

Background on the vote from the HRW release:
Consultative status is the only official means by which non-governmental organizations (NGOs) around the world can influence and participate in discussions among member states at the United Nations. Nearly 3,000 groups enjoy this status.
States opposed to the two groups' applications moved to have them summarily dismissed, an almost unprecedented move at the UN, where organizations are ordinarily allowed to state their cases. The U.S. abstained on a vote which would have allowed the debate to continue and the groups to be heard. It then voted to reject the applications.

The US is justifying the vote by casting aspersion. A New York Times article [Warren Hoge, "Rights Groups Fault U.S. Vote in U.N. on Gays," NYT, January 27, 2006] on the vote discusses the pretext being used by the Administration of dubiously associating one of the groups with pedophilia. The absurdity of the rational is clear from the media bulletin [ECOSOC/6184] released by the Economic and Social Council, the UN body the organizations would have gained consultative status with, which indicates that a separate vote was taken for each organization seeking consultative states. In other words, even if one accepted the notion that the group which expelled an affiliate of NAMBLA in 1994 is tainted by pedophilia, that would have no bearing on the other organization which was rejected by the same vote count.

The vote was taken by nations that compose a committee with the task of recommending NGOs for consultative status. It's not clear to me if the recommendation is authoritative or might be ignored.

I'll close with an excerpt from the UN bulletin:
Emphasizing that the Committee had taken two decisions which "will haunt us for a long time," Germany's representative said it had committed an act of discrimination against two NGOs whose sole purpose was to combat discrimination. The message the majority of the Committee had sent to the NGOs and to the world was clear: discrimination against persons on the grounds of their sexual orientation was okay.


Post a Comment

<< Home