The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission’s request for accreditation as a consulting group to the United Nations has been blocked by Egypt.
The group, which had applied for “consultative status” at the U.N. Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) three years ago, is an international NGO and advocacy group focusing on protecting the rights of homosexuals and lesbians worldwide. Diplomats from Western nations that support gay rights complained that Egypt and other developing states that have been criticized by rights groups for discriminating against gays and lesbians prevented the committee from voting on whether to accredit the group, thereby leaving it in limbo. “IGLHRC is disappointed by the vote of the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations to block action on our application,” Cary Alan Johnson, head of the New York-based group, said in a statement to Reuters.
The U.N. NGO committee has 19 members, among them the United States and Britain, as well as Egypt, Sudan, Qatar, Pakistan and China. Johnson said it was a “clear case of discrimination against an organization because it defends the human rights of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bi- and transsexual) people around the world.” The U.S. delegation defended the work of IGLHRC. “This NGO is committed to combating discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity,” the U.S. statement said. “It has contributed to valuable research on HIV/AIDs and its work is well known to this committee.”
According to the British delegation, Egypt blocked IGLHRC “on behalf of African countries.”