In 1945, immediately after the San Francisco conference where the United Nations treaty was signed, WUPJ sent a statement to the governments of the UN demanding protection for religious freedom. After the right was guaranteed by the United Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, WUPJ continued throughout the 1950s to make oral and written submissions to the Economic and Social Council and the Commission on Human Rights (ECOSOC). This was a pressing for this religious freedom to be included in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
The World Union has ECOSOC status meaning the organization has granted acceptance as a NGO that helps with sustainable development of the world. This entitles WUPJ to five representatives in the New York location of the UN. This status also allows representatives certain direct access to commissions meetings and committees that would otherwise not be authorized with other NGOs.
The World Union was granted ECOSOC status in 1972 due to the continued effort for sustainable development and alliance to human rights.
The commission on Social Development, the commission on the Status of Women, the Committee of Religious NGOs, the Jewish NGO Caucus, the Working Group on Girls, the New York Metro Chapter of the US Committee on UN Women and the annual Holocaust Remembrance day all have World Union representation.
The WUPJ representative, Janet Stovin, is a member of the Non-Governmental Organization/Department of Public Information Executive Committee, who attended the NGO/DPI mission to Cuba where they were briefed on the education, health and community services.
Stovin has served as the WUPJ representative at the UN for 22 years and counting. John Clark in Vienna, Austria and Rabbi Francois Garai in Geneva, Switzerland have similar responsibilities as the representatives at the other UN locations.
The role of the WUPJ representative at the UN is to share the international take on Judaism. Due to progressive Judaism’s ever changing involvement in relation to social justice, the representative is held responsible to report the efforts made by the WUPJ that relate to the social justice efforts in the respective UN committees.
The WUPJ serves as the only Jewish voice on some committees the representative sits on and on others, the only progressive Jewish voice. It is considered one of the main contributors to religious freedom around the world.
About the Author:
Alyson Malinger is the Advocacy and the Communications Associate for Women of Reform Judaism. She graduated from Indiana University, majoring in Journalism, and is a member of Temple Shalom in Aberdeen, NJ. Alyson completed an internship in global advocacy and communications at the World Union for Progressive Judaism in the summer of 2017 where she researched key issues changing the face of global Judaism and leaders growing congregations around the world.