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Religious Freedom

Question for Foreign and Commonwealth Office

UIN 22744, tabled on 15 January 2016

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure freedom of religion or belief are promoted in countries with high levels of persecution on the grounds of religion or belief.

Answered on

25 January 2016

This Government is firmly committed to promoting and protecting the right to freedom of religion or belief around the world, and to being a strong voice internationally in defence of this fundamental right. Our work on freedom of religion or belief continues to be an integral part of our new strategic approach to human rights, refocusing our work around three themes: democratic values and the rule of law; strengthening the rules-based international system; and human rights for a stable world.

We also carry out project work in a range of countries where the level of persecution is high, working with non-governmental organisations on issues such as promoting better understanding between faiths, bridging sectarian divides, promoting dialogue between faith groups and government and offering technical advice on amending discriminatory laws. In the next financial year, there will be more funding available for such work through the £10.6 million Magna Carta Fund for Human Rights and Democracy. At the multilateral level, we are working through the UN General Assembly to establish an internationally agreed set of principles for promoting religious tolerance through education.