BWA strengthens its United Nations work
The Baptist World Alliance has appointed a lawyer to directly oversee its UN activities
Since 1974 the international umbrella organisation for Baptists has had Special Consultative Status at the UN through the Economic and Social Council, which enables it to advocate for on human rights and justice issues.
In 2014 it partnered with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF) to increase the Baptist presence at the UN. This partnership has now led to the appointment of Earl Marcus Wiggs III as BWA liaison to the UN.
Wiggs, a lawyer from the US state of Mississippi, has served as chair of the Baptist Joint Committee, based in Washington, DC, and co-chair of the Religious Liberty Council, which has offices in Florida, Virginia and Washington, D.C.
In this new role he will supervise BWA UN work, including coordination of the contribution of the current BWA appointed representatives at the UN: Darrell Armstrong, Joseph Oniyama, Raimundo Barreto and Phyllis Boozer in New York; Ronald Shane McNary and Christer Daelander in Geneva, Switzerland, and Dietrich Fischer-Dörl in Vienna, Austria. These volunteers play a vital role in BWA's networking and advocacy through the UN.
A release announcing the new appointment stated that "BWA's and CBF's main objective is to maximize the potential for advocacy in defence of human rights and justice through the instruments available at the UN".
BWA is also a member of the Conference of NGOs, and enjoys consultative relationship with the UN Committee of Nongovernmental Organizations (CoNGO), an international membership association. In total it has access to 41 influential NGO committees in New York, Geneva and Vienna.
In recent times, the BWA has increasingly engaged the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the Human Rights Council and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), presenting alternative human rights reports on particular UN Member States.
?At Rio+20, the UN Conference on Sustainable Development in Brazil in 2012, BWA co-sponsored side events and submitted documents contributing the focus of the discussions there. Through the BWA Women's Department, it has actively participated in the annual meeting of the Commission on the Status of Women.