Adventist elected secretary of UN NGO committee to promote religious liberty

UN member states should stand behind commitment to freedom of belief, Standish says

 


James D. Standish, director of United Nations relations for the Adventist world church, was elected secretary of the UN non-governmental Committee on Freedom of Religion and Belief this month. [photo: Ansel Oliver/ANN]

A Seventh-day Adventist religious liberty advocate was elected secretary of the United Nations non-governmental Committee on Freedom of Religion or Belief earlier this month.

As secretary, James D. Standish, director of UN relations for the Adventist world church, will coordinate with non-governmental organizations to promote and protect freedom of belief.

Standish's appointment recognizes the Adventist Church's leading role in advocating religious liberty, church Public Affairs and Religious Liberty leaders said.

"It's an honor to be trusted with this responsibility," Standish said. "The United Nations can be a tool to advance the cause of religious freedom."

Rather than using the position solely to defend against proposals that might threaten or limit religious liberty, Standish said he hopes to "go back on the offensive," pushing UN member states to "stand up for the values they claim to embrace."

Standish, an attorney, previously served the Adventist Church as its representative to the United States government. He also served as an executive director of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, an agency of the U.S. government.