By ASSOCIATED PRESS
UNITED NATIONS — The UN Economic and Social Council voted Monday to accredit the US-based International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission after strong lobbying by the Obama administration.The group will now be able to attend UN meetings, submit statements and collaborate with both government and UN entities on human rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, commission officials said.President Barack Obama welcomed the vote as an "important step forward for human rights," saying with the group's inclusion "the United Nations is closer to the ideals on which it was founded, and to values of inclusion and equality to which the United States is deeply committed."The 54-member council, known as ECOSOC, approved the US-based group's application for consultative status by a vote of 23-13 with 13 abstentions. Many of those voting "no" — including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Russia and China — cited procedural reasons.
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