CFI’s Michael De Dora Elected President of UN Religious Freedom Committee
July 23, 2014
We’re proud to announce that Michael De Dora, CFI’s director of public policy and main representative to the United Nations, has been elected to a two-year term as president of the UN’s NGO Committee on Freedom of Religion or Belief.
The Committee, working from within UN headquarters in New York City, is dedicated to defending and promoting the international agreements that protect the rights to freedom of religion or belief. As president, Michael will be responsible for organizing high-level meetings and public events with UN officials and foreign diplomats for the Committee and its members, imparting to those in positions of power the importance of the rights to freedom or religion or belief, as well as their relation to other areas of human rights, such as gender equality and LGBT rights.
“I feel extraordinarily honored to be elected to this position,” says Michael, who previously served as Committee secretary. “The rights to freedom of religion and belief are not only central to CFI’s mission, they are foundational for a flourishing global civilization. Around the world individuals are regularly persecuted for holding dissenting religious beliefs, or for having none at all. This must change, and civil society is a key to shifting the landscape. I look forward to working with officials at the United Nations and the Committee’s member organizations to advance the rights to freedom of religion and belief for all persons.”
In the coming months, Michael plans to hold events featuring the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom or Religion or Belief, and with various ambassadors for religious freedom from governments around the world to discuss their work to protect these rights. He’ll also work to improve communication and coordination between Committee member groups in an effort to further strengthen their efforts.
“Michael has shown a tireless commitment to the freedoms of belief and expression around the world,” said Ronald A. Lindsay, president and CEO of CFI. “Leading CFI’s efforts in international policy, he’s put his passion and intelligence to work on behalf of persecuted dissenters such as Raif Badawi in Saudi Arabia, Meriam Ibrahim in Sudan, Alexander Aan in Indonesia, and many others. In electing Michael its new president, the Committee has chosen wisely.”
Past presidents of the Committee include Matt Cherry of the International Humanist and Ethical Union and Bani Dugal of the Bahá’í International Community. You can learn more about the Committee at www.unfrb.org.
* * *
The Center for Inquiry (CFI) is a nonprofit educational, advocacy, and research organization headquartered in Amherst, New York, with executive offices in Washington, D.C. It is also home to both the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry and the Council for Secular Humanism. The mission of CFI is to foster a secular society based on science, reason, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values. CFI‘s web address is www.centerforinquiry.net.