Dear Friends & Colleagues:
The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission needs your support. Three years ago we applied to the UN for consultative status so that we can bring the voices and issues facing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people to the UN. We finally have a chance on during this session of ECOSOC in July to get this status.
But there are governments who are doing all they can to prevent this. We need as many Member States as possible to support us. You can help by asking your government to vote in our favour and by showing your organizations support through visiting http://tiny.cc/iglhrcECOSOC and adding your name to this letter to be sent to all Member States.
As the letter below explains, the sub-committee that makes recommendations to the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) this last May again prevented our application from being considered on its merits by the full ECOSOC. With the support of some Member States this measure to block us is being brought to the attention of ECOSOC and we are hoping that we will be able to move forward and be approved.
Please add your organization name today and send this email on to your lists.
Thank you for helping to ensure that the voices of civil society are not silenced by discrimination.
Cary Alan Johnson
International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission
This letter will be available in French and Spanish shortly. Please email email@example.com if you would like to receive the translated versions.
To the Members and Observers of the United Nations Economic and Social Council:
Civil society is a vital partner in the work of the United Nations and the 2010 session of the UN ECOSOC presents an opportunity to support civil society voices. We urge you to support the application for NGO consultative status of the human rights organization, the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) and to prevent the unfair use of procedural measures to silence civil society.
Last month, certain Member States in the subsidiary NGO Committee presented a motion of “no action” on the call for a vote to decide on the consultative status application of IGLHRC. This no-action call was successful despite the fact that IGLHRC’s application has already been in the Committee process for three years and the organization has answered numerous questions and requests for information. The nature of the questions facing IGLHRC and various other statements made by some Member States indicated that this stalling tactic was motivated by the fact that IGLHRC’s human-rights work focuses on already marginalized lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people.
This is the first time this no-action procedure has been used to prevent the Committee from doing its work to make a recommendation on an application’s merits after an initial (and in this case extensive) review of the applying organization. This extraordinary use of the no-action motion to prevent the full ECOSOC from taking decisions on an NGOs application, where that NGO works on politically contentious issues or for unpopular minority groups, should not be allowed to stand. If left unchallenged, this could result in the regular use of such a procedure to block progress. This would subvert the purpose of the NGO sub-committee, deny the ECOSOC the opportunity to fulfill its function and would limit the access of vital civil society groups to contribute to the work of the UN.
We call on you to support IGLHRC’s application for consultative status at ECOSOC and to send a message to the NGO Committee that it must review all applications without discrimination.
Diversity of civil society at the United Nations is essential to respecting, protecting and promoting the human rights of all people and to achieving sustainable peace and human security. Please do not allow the voices of marginalized people to be silenced by discrimination and procedural roadblocks.