To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure that the right to freedom of religion or belief is upheld across the world; and if he will appoint an envoy for that purpose.
This answer is the replacement for a previous holding answer.
22 June 2015
All FCO Ministers raise the issue of freedom of religion or belief in bilateral and multilateral fora, whenever relevant, as a core part of our existing human rights work. We consider this the most effective approach.
The Minister of State, my noble Friend the right hon. Baroness Anelay of St Johns met the All Party Parliamentary Group for International Freedom of Religion or Belief on 17 June to set out the UK’s commitment to uphold globally freedom of religion or belief. On 18 June she met the US Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, Rabbi David Saperstein, to discuss upcoming joint action. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) officials attended the inaugural meeting of an International Contact Group on Freedom of Religion or Belief to discuss how we can better work together internationally. Last week, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Grand Mufti of Al-Azhar addressed staff in the FCO on the subject of “Faith, Freedom and Foreign Policy” as part of the FCO’s ongoing religious literacy initiative.