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Religious Freedom

Question for Foreign and Commonwealth Office

UIN 19279, tabled on 8 December 2015

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps UK embassies are taking to promote religious freedoms.

Answered on

14 December 2015

Through our network of Embassies and High Commissions, the Government regularly urges governments across the world to protect the right of all individuals to practise their religion or belief free from persecution or discrimination.

We promote this freedom bilaterally by raising individual cases with governments and by seeking to influence them to remove discriminatory legislation or practices. We also promote religious freedom in multilateral fora by working together with our international partners

For example, in Burma, we have raised our deep concern at the rise of hate speech and religious intolerance with the Burmese authorities and will continue to do so, both publicly and in private. We have supported a number of projects, including developing relationships between Burmese youth and different religious communities, and arranging exchanges between activists on religious freedom in Burma and Indonesia. In Iraq, we are funding a project to prevent intolerance and violence towards religious communities by strengthening the ability of youth and civil society to advocate the right to freedom of religion or belief.

Promoting freedom of religion or belief is a priority for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Human Rights and Democracy Programme. Since 2011, 35 projects have been funded in 12 countries.

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