Thursday, Foreign Policy magazine reported on brewing battle over the recognition of a LGBT Human Right’s group at the United Nations.
Congressional Republicans Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-NJ) and Rep. Trent Franks (R-Az) have rallied behind a coalition of Islamic governments urging foreign governments to oppose a U.S.-led effort to support a bid by an American gay and lesbian organization to gain full-fledged membership as a U.N. nongovernment organization.
In response, a statement from Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s (NY-D) office arrived:
Senator Gillibrand feels this is unconscionable and is working with Senators Merkley and Wyden to urge the UN Economic & Social Council to support the group’s application for consultative status.
“Unconscionable” is absolutely the correct word.
Cross-Posted at Daily Kos, please rec if you can.Really, no other word describes this better than “unconscionable.” The GOP is colluding with some of the most oppressive regimes in the globe, the very ones they demonize daily, against desperately needed progress. They are forming an alliance with Egypt on the subject of human rights. Please contemplate that for a moment.
At issue is the UN’s Economic and Social Council’s potential pending vote to accredit International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission as an official non-governmental organization (NGO) affiliated with the United Nations. The GOP-led movement is urging the council to take no action.
A U.S. draft resolution circulated Friday would have ECOSOC grant the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission consultative status.
Jessica Stern, the commission’s program director, said the group expects the 54 members of ECOSOC to vote on the U.S. draft on Monday.
“Given that more than 70 countries around the world still have sodomy laws in effect and that homophobia is rampant around the world, the opportunity to be recognized by the international community and the human rights standards that the U.N. represents is invaluable to our work,” Stern said.
In a letter to ECOSOC, the members of Congress said last month’s decision by the committee that accredits non-governmental organizations to take “no action” on the gay rights group’s application was aimed at preventing the full ECOSOC from making a decision.
And in light of the LGBT worldwide human rights landscape, lobbying against any expansion of the UN’s power to address this, is absolutely “unconscionable,” thank you, Senator Gillibrand, for selecting exactly the correct word.
Legislation is still kicking around Uganda to imprison and execute people who may be or are at least are alleged to be gay. And this trend is threatening to spread to Rwanda and other parts. As it is increasingly becoming consensus that religious and ethnic groups’ are inappropriate targets for scapegoating efforts, resulting in international outcries, we can expect in coming years to see tyrants more frequently focusing themselves on LGBT individuals to exploit hatred for power and money.
And what makes the US’s responsibility lead even more pressing are the American Evangelical movement’s fingerprints are all over these initiatives; our country is exporting homophobia. From Rick Warren, to Scott Lively, our homegrown extremists, have done everything from lobbying, to played footsie, and wink-and-nod games. The conservative, religious group, Family Research Council was recently discovered to have spent money lobbying on behalf of Uganda’s “Kill the gays” bill, reports to CBS News. The FRC’s FEC lobbying report is here.
Since the 2003 invasion and occupation, however, LGBT persons have faced an unprecedented level of persecution. They now comprise one of Iraq’s most endangered minorities.
It is estimated at least 700, LGBT Iraqis have been murdered since the US invasion. There are also multiple reports they have suffered horrific torture. Ali Hili himself currently resides in London, while his UK asylum application is considered and lives under constant threat of death. but he continues to work underground to find LGBT Iraqis safe houses and passage out of his brutal homeland of Iraq.
Let us not mince words, to resist this accreditation it is to condone murder, and stands in stark contrast with American values of living free of tyranny and persecution, religious and otherwise. IGLHRC is an respected Human Rights organization, GOP resistance can only be attributed to bigotry against LGBT people. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said just last month:
“In some places, violence against the LGBT community is permitted by law and inflamed by public calls to violence,” she said. “In others, it persists insidiously behind closed doors. These dangers are not gay issues. This is a human rights issue.”
Countless lives depend on international coalitions stepping up support for global LGBT Human Rights organizations. Whatever our problems at home on LGBT issues, it’s incumbent on the US to assume a place of leadership in the arena of LGBT International rights, to life, to freedom.
A statement from Senator Gillibrand’s office reads:
The IGLHRC applied for ECOSOC status three years ago but, while the US mission to the UN is supportive of their application, its progress has been obstructed and delayed, most recently in June by Representatives Chris Smith and Trent Franks who sent letters to all of the missions that were voting on the application, urging them to vote against it. The result, unfortunately, was a motion of “no action” on the call for a vote on their status.
Senator Gillibrand feels this is unconscionable and is working with Senators Merkley and Wyden to urge the UN Economic & Social Council to support the group’s application for consultative status. In their letter to the UN, they write:
“Diversity of civil society at the UN is essential to respecting, protecting, and promoting the human rights of all people and to achieving sustainable peace and human society.”
The letter is below.
Thank you Senators Gillibrand, Wyden, Merkley for standing up for so many worldwide, and supporting American values.