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Freedom Now Wins UN Bid Despite Russian, Kazakh Opposition


South African Nobel peace laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu is honorary chairman of the U.S.-based nonprofit group and had pleaded with committee members to reverse their previous vote and give the group access to UN premises and conferences.

South African Nobel peace laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu is honorary chairman of the U.S.-based nonprofit group and had pleaded with committee members to reverse their previous vote and give the group access to UN premises and conferences.

The United Nations has approved accreditation for Freedom Now, which works to free prisoners of conscience around the world, in a victory for the United States and a defeat for Russia, Kazakhstan, and other opponents.

The parent body of the UN Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations voted 29 to 9 on July 20 to grant Freedom Now's request after the committee last month rejected its bid for consultative status at the world body.

The nine countries voting against were Bolivia, China, Russia, Pakistan, Zimbabwe, Sudan, South Africa, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan.

"Freedom Now is anathema to certain member states because its lawyers work to try to free those unjustly imprisoned on the basis of their political, religious, or other beliefs," U.S. Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power said.

South African Nobel peace laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu is honorary chairman of the U.S.-based nonprofit group and had pleaded with committee members to reverse their previous vote and give the group access to UN premises and conferences.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AP
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