China has voted against a Christian foundation’s application for NGO accreditation, saying its refusal to answer questions about the names and location of its members in China showed “disrespect” to the committee, according to a report by CNSNews.
This week in Geneva, Switzerland, the U.N. Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), the body that makes decisions on which NGOs get recognized, put its imprimatur on an earlier decision taken by a subsidiary committee nixing the group’s application.
That committee’s members voted 12-4 against the Dynamic Christian World Mission Foundation’s application. The votes in favor of the group came from the U.S., Britain, Israel and Romania. Nations opposed included China, Cuba, Egypt, Russia, Sudan and Pakistan, according to CNS News.
If the foundation’s application had been successful, it would have attained “consultative status,” allowing it and other approved NGOs to attend meetings and to submit statements to the world body.
U.S. delegate John Sammis said that by shutting out the organization, “we are embarrassing ourselves and embarrassing the United Nations.” The U.S. representative added that he could find no reason in regulations governing NGO accreditation why the foundation would be required to give up names and addresses of members in China -- or any other country.
U.N. Watch, a Geneva-based organization, also condemned the decision. “Today’s vote is a setback for religious freedom, and could set a dangerous precedent at the U.N. for repressive regimes to launch frivolous objections, or demand sensitive information, in order to obstruct the important work of civil society organizations in the areas of religion, education, and human rights,” said the group’s director, Hillel Neuer.
Meanwhile, the ECOSOC overruled a decision by 19 of its 54 member states to bar official recognition of a Brazilian homosexual organization, according to a report by the Associated Press.
The Brazilian Association of Gays, Lesbians and Transsexuals claims to be made up of 141 homosexual activist groups that pressure government for programs promoting homosexuality as a normal lifestyle, including the establishment of homosexual civil unions or same-sex marriage.
It will join the other 3000 NGOs recognized by ECOSOC to participate in debates at the U.N.
According to the U.S. State Department, the Chinese vote against the Christian foundation was consistent with that country’s aim to control Christian observance through two government-sanctioned organizations, one Catholic and one Protestant.
Millions of Christians, however, choose to worship in underground Protestant house churches or Catholic congregations tied to the Vatican in Rome.
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