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20 April 2017

Christian Solidarity Worldwide granted UN accreditation

Christian Solidarity Worldwide granted UN accreditation

Alliance member and Religious Liberty Commission partner Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) has been granted official UN accreditation.

The 54 member United Nations (UN) Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) gave the accreditation after eight years of deferrals and denials.

The new Consultative Status gives CSW independent access to key UN human rights advocacy platforms, as well as the ability to organise side-events at the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) and UN General Assembly. 

CSW's chief executive Mervyn Thomas said: "This is a significant day for CSW. UN accreditation will enable us to advance our work of promoting the right to freedom of religion or belief across the UN system. 

"This vote is also a welcome acknowledgment of the importance of NGO contributions to the UN's work. 

"CSW is deeply grateful to the UN member states who co-sponsored the resolution to grant us consultative status, and to the ECOSOC members who voted in support of our application."

The UK Mission to the UN in New York appealed to the ECOSOC Committee against the decision made in February by the UN Committee on Non-Governmental Organisations to reject CSW's application for consultative status after repeatedly deferring it since 2009. 

The NGO Committee comprises 19 UN member states and is tasked with considering applications for consultative status by NGOs and facilitating civil society access to the UN. 

It has repeatedly deferred and even denied consultative status to some human rights NGOs. 

Other NGOs with UN accreditation include Amnesty International, International Rescue Committee and the Baptist World Alliance.

The successful appeal comes after CSW's application was rejected by the UN NGO Committee in February. 

H.E. Matthew Rycroft CBE, ambassador and permanent representative to the UK Mission to the UN in New York led the appeal. He said: "When a serious and credible NGO such as Christian Solidarity Worldwide is kept waiting in limbo for seven years, the system is clearly not working as it should… Its work is directly relevant to ECOSOC.

"It is in full compatibility with the aims and purposes of the UN Charter, as well as the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and other United Nations human rights covenants. CSW works actively to promote the aims and purposes of the Charter. 

"It even trains other civil society partners to work within the UN system and fully utilise UN mechanisms. 

"The conclusion we draw is that the NGO Committee's decisions have not been based on the merits of CSW's application." 

Mervyn Thomas added: "While we are pleased with the outcome of today's vote, the questions raised regarding the NGO Committee's tendency to repeatedly defer and deny the applications of human rights organisations need to be addressed. 

"As the parent body, ECOSOC is responsible for ensuring that the practices and procedures of the NGO Committee are in keeping with its principles and that its decisions comply with international human rights standards. 

"We will continue to advocate for reforms that will result in a greater degree of impartiality, accountability and transparency."

Christian Solidarity Worldwide, Release International and Open Doors UK are members of the Religious Liberty Commission, along with the Evangelical Alliance. The Commission aims to speak with one voice about the persecution of Christians around the world and to encourage prayer and advocacy on their behalf. 

As a member of the Evangelical Alliance, CSW is one of 600 organisations supported by the Alliance. We facilitate members' initiatives and campaigns and offer support to increase their impact. Member organisations have an opportunity to speak to the media on behalf of our membership, as we direct media and information enquiries to member organisations best placed to deal with them. The Alliance also provides training for organisations on how to engage with the local government and media. 

If you would like your organisation to become a member of the Evangelical Alliance, you can find out more here.