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Commonwealth: Religious Freedom

Question for Foreign and Commonwealth Office

UIN HL2806, tabled on 1 November 2017

To ask Her Majesty's Government what priority they have given to addressing freedom of religion or belief across the Commonwealth at next year’s Commonwealth Summit; and what funding, if any, has been allocated by the Cabinet Office’s Commonwealth Secretariat to deliver a programme of events around that issue in the run-up to the Summit.

Answered on

20 November 2017

The Government remains firmly committed to the promotion and protection of Freedom of Religion or Belief in all countries. The Prime Minister has announced the four themes for the summit: prosperity, security, sustainability and fairness. The summit will encourage all Commonwealth members to uphold the values set out in the Commonwealth Charter, including religious freedom or belief. We are currently working with the Commonwealth Secretariat and other member states to establish a detailed agenda for the week of the summit and the programme of events.

We are currently considering programmes for the UK's Commonwealth Chair-in-Office period, the two years following the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in April 2018. We have agreed to support the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association in hosting a forum which will bring parliamentarians from around the Commonwealth together for important discussions across the key challenges facing the Commonwealth, including upholding the Commonwealth Charter. We have also provided £20,000 to the Royal Commonwealth Society to support its interfaith service, which will take place in Westminster Abbey on Commonwealth Day in March 2018.