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'Religious Freedom Is a High Priority for Church,' Adventist Representative Tells UN Envoy

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Download the report of Dr. Nelu Burcea, associate director of Public Affairs and Religious Liberty department, on his work at the United Nations.

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This is a summary of the United Nations Liaison Committee Report held on March 22, 2021. This report presented a perspective of the vision of the Seventh-day Adventist Church on the importance of championing religious freedom and the promotion of social, moral, and spiritual values.

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2020 in Review presents a selection of news headlines, and reports on the general direction which nations follow when relating to human rights, the humanitarian area, and international relations as they are seen by the United Nations.

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Download the report of Dr. Nelu Burcea, associate director of Public Affairs and Religious Liberty department, on the Unequal World Conference.

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The right to education is one of the 17 Global Goals included in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which aims to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.”

The World Social Report 2020

January 27, 2020

​The World Social Report 2020: Inequality in a rapidly changing world was released on January 21, 2020, by the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations.

For People of Faith, 70-year-old Human Rights Document Holds Special Meaning

January 21, 2020

Nelu Burcea, the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s liaison to the United Nations, reflects on the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

In a meeting with the United Nations’ new top envoy for religious freedom, the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s UN liaison said Adventists are committed to promoting and defending freedom of worship for all people, regardless of their faith tradition.

Dr. Nelu Burcea, an associate director of the Public Affairs and Religious Liberty department of the world church, met last month in New York City with Dr. Ahmed Shaheed, who is the UN’s new Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief. Dr. Shaheed is a veteran politician and diplomat from the Indian Ocean island nation of Maldives, and previously served as the UN’s top human rights observer for the Islamic Republic of Iran.

“I have followed Dr. Shaheed’s work as Special Rapporteur on human rights for Iran and I’ve been struck by his passionate commitment to defending the defenseless, and speaking out for those who have no voice,” said Dr. Burcea. “As I talked with him last month, this impression was certainly confirmed. I welcome the opportunity to work with Dr. Shaheed in promoting the first freedom—the freedom to believe and worship according to one’s own conscience.”

In their meeting, Burcea introduced Shaheed to the global work of the Adventist Church, and spoke of its efforts, spanning some 150 years, to defend and expand religious liberty for all people of faith. The two also discussed current challenges to religious freedom in different parts of the world.

Shaheed’s appointment follows the retirement of Professor Heiner Bielefeldt, who served as the UN’s Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief since August 2010.

“As he begins his work, Dr. Shaheed will build on a foundation that has been strengthened by the dedicated work of Professor Bielefeldt,” said Dr. Ganoune Diop, director of Public Affairs and Religious Liberty for the world church. Dr. Diop, who formerly served as the church’s UN Liaison, has worked closely with Bielefeldt through the years. He called him an “eloquent, effective and compassionate advocate for religious freedom—someone who doesn’t hesitate to speak against the powerful on behalf of religious minorities, or those struggling under repressive laws or in hostile environments. We wish Dr. Shaheed well as he continues to expand Professor Bielefeldt’s legacy.”

As the church’s UN Liaison, Burcea regularly travels to the United Nations in New York and Geneva to attend meetings, including sessions of the UN’s Human Rights Council, which take place at least three times each year. His task is to introduce the Adventist Church within the international arena, and to build good relations with those who share the church’s goals in fields such as human rights and humanitarian care.

BETTINA KRAUSE | Communication Director
International Religious Liberty Association
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