UNITED KINGDOM, January 1, 2014 (The Guardian): Research undertaken by Prof. Jeremy Carrette, with colleagues from the University of Kent's department of religious studies, has revealed that more than 70% of religious non-government organisations (NGOs) at the UN are Christian, and that there is historical privilege in allowing the Vatican a special observer status, as both a state and a religion.
The report, called Religious NGOs and the United Nations, calls for greater awareness, transparency and equality in the way religious NGOs operate within the UN, and more emphasis on religious tolerance. The report also asks for greater understanding of how religions enhance and constrain human rights. It provides evidence that funding limits other religious traditions from establishing NGO work at the UN.
Asian religions, such as Hinduism and Buddhism, are under-represented and funding is a major issue in preventing their equal access, it said. Carrette said: "It would seem there needs to be more of a 'global goodwill' to make the UN system work for all religions equally, and for religions to follow and share equally UN goals for peace and justice."
"It also shows that religions form an important part of international global politics and that in a global world we need to establish a new pluralistic contract for equal access for all religions to the UN system," said Carrette.