Baptist World Alliance
Eron Henry, Associate Director of Communications
Neville Callam, General Secretary
Phone: +1 703 790 8980
Fax: +1 703 893 5160

April 16, 2010
For Immediate Release
BWA deepens ties with the UN
Washington (BWA) -- The Baptist World Alliance (BWA) is deepening its commitment to work with the United Nations. Raimundo Barreto, director of Freedom and Justice at the BWA, attended meetings at the UN headquarters in New York in the United States in early April, while other BWA representatives are attending UN meetings in other countries.
Barreto, who took office on March 1, attended briefings by the Department of Public Information of the UN Secretariat and NGOs. He also met with Kathleen Stone, UN chaplain; Christopher Ferguson, World Council of Churches representative and chair of the UN Committee of Religious NGOs; William Vendley, general secretary of Religious for Peace; and Nahleen Ahmed, a UN Economic and Social Council representative. 
Barreto was accompanied at the UN meetings by Julie Justus, BWA Freedom and Justice Specialist.
"As part of the strategy we are using to strengthen our presence at the UN, we have sent a representative to attend the Twelfth United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, which is taking place in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil, from April 12 to April 17," Barreto said. Another BWA representative will attend the meeting of the NGO Committee on Spirituality, Values and Global Concerns on April 28 in Geneva, Switzerland. 
The BWA continues to use qualified volunteer representation when needed, under the direction and briefing of Barreto.
Describing the New York meetings as "enlightening and productive," Barreto declared, "We would like to reinforce that the BWA representation and participation at the UN is a high priority. It is at this level that the BWA can offer its unique contribution in the field of human rights advocacy. It is important to bring Baptist voices in order to play a more influential role in the important discussions that are taking place right now at the UN concerning religious freedom and other human rights."
Barreto emphasized the positive role that the BWA can play in the international multilateral organization. "We as Baptists have a unique perspective that will enrich the conversation and the BWA can play a more positive role in the practical outcome of discussions. The fact that we have a large worldwide constituency behind our UN representation is recognized as an important factor to make our advocacy work at the UN more credible."
The BWA, as a nongovernmental organization, is a member of the Conference of Nongovernmental Organizations in Consultative Relationship with the UN, giving it consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council.
The status, obtained in 1973, gives the BWA a higher level of access to all parts of the UN and the privilege of circulating its views to the General Assembly and the various commissions.