FROM A PRESS RELEASE
The full United Nations Economic and Social Council ( ECOSOC ) voted in favor of a U.S.-led resolution to grant the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission ( IGLHRC ) consultative status on July 19, according to an IGLHRC press release. IGLHRC is only the tenth organization working primarily for LGBT rights to gain such status at the United Nations.
"Today's decision is an affirmation that the voices of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people have a place at the United Nations as part of a vital civil society community," said Cary Alan Johnson, IGLHRC's executive director. "The clear message here is that these voices should not be silenced and that human rights cannot be denied on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity."
The resolution passed with 23 in favor and 13 against, with 13 abstentions and five absences.
This victory is particularly significant, coming as it does after a prolonged three-year application process in the subcommittee that makes initial recommendations on status.
The U.S. government stood strongly behind IGLHRC's application, calling for a vote in both the NGO Committee and ECOSOC. Ambassador Susan Rice, U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations, publicly backed IGLHRC's application. Additionally, 14 members of Congress and four senators sent letters of support to all UN Member States for IGLHRC's application. Among them were Sen. John Kerry, vhair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, and Congressman Howard Berman, vhair of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
The votes on this resolution granting IGLHRC special consultative status were as follows:
Votes for ( 23 ) : Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Guatemala, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Malta, Norway, Peru, Poland, Rep. of Korea, Slovenia, United Kingdom, United States and Uruguay
Votes against ( 13 ) : Bangladesh, China, Comoros, Egypt, Malaysia, Morocco, Namibia, Niger, Pakistan, Russian Fed., Saudi Arabia, Venezuela and Zambia
Abstaining ( 13 ) : Bahamas, Cote D'Ivoire, Ghana, India, Mauritius, Mongolia, Mozambique, Philippines, Rep. of Moldova, Rwanda, Saint Kitts, Turkey and Ukraine
Absent ( 5 ) : Cameroon, Congo, Guinea-Bissau, Iraq and Saint Lucia