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U.N. again votes
to reject gay groups

U.N. again votes
to reject gay groups

A U.N. panel this week barred two more gay rights groups from having a formal voice at the United Nations after blocking two others earlier this year, diplomats said on Friday. Votes to deny the groups "consultative status" at the world body took place in the U.N. Economic and Social Council's Committee on Non-governmental Organizations, which wrapped up its latest eight-day session on Friday.

A total of 2,870 nongovernmental organizations have such status, enabling them to distribute documents and speak at meetings of some U.N. bodies and conferences. The committee, which holds sessions twice a year, this week rejected applications from the Lesbian and Gay Federation in Germany and ILGA-Europe, a chapter of the International Gay and Lesbian Association.

During its first 2006 session, which took place in January, the committee rejected the Belgium-based International Gay and Lesbian Association and the Danish National Association for Gays and Lesbians. The United States--which voted against U.N. recognition of the two groups considered in January, prompting criticism from several human rights groups and 45 members of the U.S. Congress--voted in favor of the two groups that were put to a vote this week.

But motions by Iran to reject both applicants were nonetheless approved 9-7. Voting no both times were Cameroon, China, Iran, Ivory Coast, Pakistan, Russia, Senegal, Sudan, and Zimbabwe. Voting against rejection were Chile, Colombia, France, Germany, Peru, Romania, and the United States. India and Turkey abstained.

While some committee members expressed concern that the rejections revealed a discriminatory pattern, Archbishop Celestino Migliore, the Vatican's U.N. observer, said U.N. consultative status is not a question of human rights. All four committee votes are subject to review later this year by the full 54-member Economic and Social Council. (Reuters)

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