Mervyn Thomas, founder and chief executive of Christian Solidarity Worldwide has been appointed a Companion of the Most Distinguished Order of St Michael and St George (CMG), in recognition of his services to human rights and freedom of religion or belief.
Following the news, Mervyn Thomas said: "I am greatly honoured and deeply humbled to be recognised in this way. Any success in my work for human rights and freedom of religion or belief has only been made possible by the outstanding talent and total commitment of all my colleagues at CSW. It is on their behalf that I accept this great honour, and also on behalf of the many thousands of courageous Christians and other religious minorities around the world who daily put their lives on the line for what they believe."
CSW's Honorary President Jonathan Aitken said: "Mervyn Thomas has been a brave and persistent fighter in the cause of human rights and freedom of religion or belief for all faiths for the past 40 years. He has been through 'many dangers, toils and snares' across the world's continents when battling for this cause. He richly deserves this honour."
CSW is a Christian human rights organisation specialising in freedom of religion or belief. Marvin Thomas has testified in the UK parliament and at Congressional hearings on Capitol Hill. Mervyn works closely with the UK All Parliamentary Group for International Freedom of Religion or Belief (APPG FoRB) and the International Panel of Parliamentarians for Freedom of Religion or Belief (IPPFoRB). He also advises the Foreign Secretary on freedom of religion or belief issues, as a member of his Human Rights Advisory Group.
Following the Foreign Secretary's announcement on 26 December that he has ordered a review into the persecution of Christians globally, Mervyn Thomas added: "I very much look forward to contributing to the review which will include recommendations for a cohesive and comprehensive policy response from Her Majesty's Government."
The charity Mervyn established 40 years ago has grown into an international organisation working to promote, protect, and uphold freedom of religion or belief in over 20 countries, and which advocates at the United Nations, with the UK and US governments, the European Union and other regional and international bodies. CSW is the only advocacy organisation with UN accreditation which focuses solely on freedom of religion or belief for all.
See also: ICN 30 November 2018 #RedWednesday: Mervyn Thomas from CSW at Westminster Cathedral - www.indcatholicnews.com/news/36089
Mustafa Field, leader of Faiths Forum for London, was awarded an OBE. The Forum provides a platform to faith communities to have stronger and more united voice amongst policy makers, civil society groups and to ensure together they foster stronger bonds in local communities. See: http://faithsforum.com
Other recipients included: Church of England clergywoman and chief executive of the Post Office, Rev Paula Anne Vennells who was appointed CBE for services to the Post Office and to charity. Claire Mary Little from the Armed Forces Chaplaincy Centre in Hampshire and Alexander Gyasi, pastor of Highway of Holiness Church in Haringey were appointed MBEs.
Stephen Addison a Christian former gangster who trains youngsters in boxing to deter them from crime and Mike Andrea, founder of the Global Generation Church in Margate were awarded the British Empire Medal.
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