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Russia Blocks Bid To Thank UN Chief Ban For LGBT Rights Work

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

The UN Security Council dropped a reference to outgoing UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's work on promoting lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights after Russia objected, diplomats said.

The 15-member council met on December 14 to pay tribute to Ban, who will step down later this month after a decade in office.

An initial statement cited by Western news agencies said it was thanks to Ban "that women, young people, and the LGBT community have been heard and assisted."

But Western news agencies cited unidentified diplomats as saying that Russia objected and the council instead agreed to a statement that thanked Ban for assisting "the most vulnerable or marginalized."

Ban and a number of UN member states have worked to improve the rights of the LGBT community but have repeatedly faced opposition from other countries, including veto-wielding permanent Security Council members Russia and China.

The other permanent members are the United States, Britain, and France.

Activists and Western government have criticized Russia's treatment of the LGBT community in recent years, citing among other things a law signed by President Vladimir Putin in 2013 prohibiting the spread of gay "propaganda" among minors, which advocates say violates the right to free assembly and promotes discrimination.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, AFP, and dpa

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