Skip to main content

Religious Freedom

Question for Foreign and Commonwealth Office

UIN 115541, tabled on 23 November 2017

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will prioritise the protection of the right to freedom of religion or belief.

Answered on

1 December 2017

​The protection of Freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) is a priority of Her Majesty's Government's foreign policy and will continue to be so. In their interactions with foreign governments, Foreign and Commonwealth Office ministers and officials routinely raise individual cases and highlight practices and laws that discriminate against people on the basis of their religion or belief.

For example, during my visit to Pakistan on 8-9 November, I discussed the treatment of religious minorities, including discrimination and violence against the Ahmadiyya and Christian communities, with the Federal Secretary of Pakistan's Human Rights Ministry. The United Kingdom also actively promotes FoRB through multilateral diplomacy. At the recent United Nations Human Rights Council, the United Kingdom worked successfully to help maintain consensus on the adoption and implementation of the European Union sponsored Resolution on 'Freedom of Religion or Belief' and the Organisation for Islamic Cooperation sponsored Resolution on 'Combating Religious Intolerance'. The FCO also continues to support a number of projects to promote tolerance through the Magna Carta Fund for Human Rights and Democracy. Current projects include work to promote religious tolerance through secondary school curricula in Iraq, Morocco and Lebanon.​

In October, The FCO minister with responsibility ​​​for Human Rights, Lord Ahmad convened the first in a series of roundtable meetings on FoRB. These meetings bring together faith leaders and civil society experts to discuss current international challenges to FoRB, and how we can collaborate to strengthen our responses.