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Gay activists try to attend UN AIDS meeting, Muslim states make it very clear where they stand

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Gay and transgender organizations have been blocked from attending a United Nations meeting next month on ending AIDS.

A group of eleven organizations was the target of an objection by 51 Muslim states that triggered a protest from the U.S., Canada and the European Union, according to a Reuters report.

On behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Egypt wrote to the president of the 193-member General Assembly objecting to the 11 groups being at the upcoming meeting, though no specific reason was given.

In a letter to General Assembly President Mogens Lykketoft, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power said the organizations appeared to be blocked because of their support of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues.

“Given that transgender people are 49 times more likely to be living with HIV than the general population, their exclusion from the high-level meeting will only impede global progress in combating the HIV/AIDS pandemic,” wrote Power. “We are deeply concerned that at every negotiation on a new General Assembly gathering, the matter of NGO (non-governmental organization) participation is questioned and scrutinized.”

Although U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has been in favor of LGBT equality at the organization, opposition to LGBT issues and participation has come from African, Arab and Muslim states, and even Russia and China, according to Reuters.

“The movement to block the participation of NGOs on spurious or hidden grounds is becoming epidemic and severely damages the credibility of the U.N.,” said Power, in her letter.

The European Union and Canada also wrote to Lykketoft to protest after the Muslim states, which included Saudi Arabia, Iran, Indonesia, Sudan and Uganda. issued their objections.

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Frieda Powers


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