To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effect of the Criminal Code Bill 2014, passed on 8 August 2017 by the Nepali Government, on freedom of religion or belief in Nepal.
9 October 2017
Whilst the final legislation is not yet public the draft version of the Criminal code criminalised religious conversion and the hurting of religious sentiment, which could be interpreted in a way that would limit people’s rights to express their religion and, potentially, their right to choose their religion.
During drafting our officials in Nepal met with the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs to discuss the bill and raise the need for compliance with international human rights standards. This includes ensuring the protection of the right to change religion.
I have also raised this matter in my most recent meeting with the Nepalese Ambassador to London on 9 October 2017.