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Frank Blasts Condi's UN Gay Position
by Doreen Brandt, 365Gay.com Washington Bureau
Posted: February 2, 2006 - 5:00 pm ET
(Washington) Saying he had expected more from her Congressman Barney Frank criticized Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice for her role in the rejection of two international LGBT civil rights groups by a United Nations body.
Last month the United Nations Economic and Social Council, a think tank made up of non governmental agencies from around the world, voted not to admit the International Lesbian and Gay Association and the Danish Association of Gays and Lesbians.
Their application to join other nongovernmental agencies on the council was rejected without a hearing after the United States voted with some of the world's most repressive regimes, including Iran, Zimbabwe, China, Cameroon and Columbia to turn down the request. (story)
"I was deeply troubled to learn that the U.S. Government, presumably at your direction, sided with some of the most undemocratic, anti-human rights regimes in the world in voting against consultative status for two international organizations, solely on the grounds that they represent gay and lesbian people," Frank said in a letter to Rice.
"I had hopes for better from you."
Frank also criticized Columbian president Alvaro Uribe for also voting against the application.
"As a gay man who has been very supportive of your efforts to defeat the anti-democratic forces in Colombia, I was personally as well as officially offended by your government's failure to support the request of two gay and lesbian organizations to receive consultative status at the UN," he wrote to Uribe.
"There was clearly no reason other than the fact that they represented gays and lesbians that led to their rejection, and I am sorry that you refused to join several democratic nations in support of their request. Your lack of respect for the essential dignity of myself and other gay and lesbian people is, as I said, deeply disappointing to me.
ECOSOC status allows NGOs to attend UN meetings and speak in their own name. The Council already has participation from labor and social rights groups.
The governments of Iran and Zimbabwe are considered to be among the most repressive anti-gay regimes in the world.
President Mugabe of Zimbabwe has long scapegoated and persecuted gay men and lesbians. The recently-elected president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has overseen an anti-gay campaign in recent months, in which many young people accused of homosexual acts reportedly have been executed.
Egypt also voted against considering the application. That country too has a history of persecuting gay men.
The ILGA has been trying to get inclusion on the Council for the past four years. Each time it has been met with roadblocks created in part by the US.
Three years ago, the United States abstained from voting on a sexual orientation nondiscrimination resolution offered by Brazil via the U.N. Human Rights Commission.