Matt Cherry, international representative for the International Humanist and Ethical Union, was elected president of the United Nations NGO (Non-Governmental Organization) Committee on Freedom of Religion of Belief. The committee brings together NGOs to work with the UN and national governments to defend and implement international agreements on the right to freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief.
Cherry was elected by acclamation at a meeting at the UN on Wednesday, June 13. He was elected to a two year term as committee president as part of a seven member governing bureau. He succeeded Bani Dugal of the Bahai International Committee, who had served two terms as president.
Cherry previously served two terms as president of the UN NGO Committee on Freedom of Religion or Belief from 2004 to 2008, when he was the first non-religious representative ever elected to the post. He then served two terms as vice president from 2008 to 2012.
The new bureau for the NGO Committee also include representatives from Jewish, Bahai, and Sikh organizations as well as the World Council of Churches and the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.