The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) has finally been granted consultative status once again by the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).

ECOSOC consultative status allows NGOs to attend UN conferences and meetings, submit written statements and reports, make oral interventions, and host panels in UN buildings.

ILGA has more than 750 member organisations in all continents promoting LGBTI human rights.

The resolution was introduced by Belgium on Monday, with the United States joining in co-sponsoring the move.

Twenty-mine countries voted in favour of the resolution to grant the organisation the special status, while 14 voted against and five abstained.

ILGA was the first-ever LGBT organisation to be granted ECOSOC consultative status in 1993, but lost it the following year because some of its member organisations at the time controversially supported abolishing age-of-consent laws.

ILGA expelled the groups from its membership and amended its constitution to clearly state its commitment against child abuse and has since repeatedly applied to regain the status.

During the period, a number of ILGA member groups were individually granted ECOSOC consultative status.

“This is a historic day for our organisation, which heals a 17-year-old wound” said co-Secretary General Renato Sabbadini, in Geneva for the occasion, “and we want to thank all, really all UN Members who voted in our favour”.

“Today we are celebrating” added co-Secretary General Gloria Careaga from Mexico City. “We are looking forward to working together with all our members, particularly those which also have the status, and our allies to advance LGBTI human rights in the UN bodies in the coming years, taking advantage of the very positive developments opened by the resolution presented by South Africa in the UN Human Rights Council last June.”

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