U.N. Spurns Freedom Watchdog

Thursday, February 16, 2017

By John Martin

A religious freedom and advocacy charity based in the United Kingdom has expressed anger about a United Nations committee vote to deny its application for observer status with the body giving voice to Non-Governmental Organizations.

The application by Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), which has been continually deferred since 2009, was finally rejected on February 3. CSW said it will not be deterred in its work despite the setback and will continue to lobby for U.N. accreditation.

Britain’s deputy ambassador to the United Nations, Peter Wilson, said he was “deeply disappointed” by the decision.

CSW “does important work in protecting freedom of religion or belief,” he said. “The NGO committee should work to enhance, not restrict, the space for civil society participation in the U.N.”

For Mervyn Thomas, CEO of the charity, the decision was “highly questionable.” He added: “We believe that this decision is effectively an attempt to silence CSW and undermine the promotion of freedom of religion or belief within the U.N. system.”

Member nations voting against CSW’s accreditation included China, India, and Sudan, all of which have histories of persecuting Christians.

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