To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the level of religious freedom in Iraq; and what steps the Government is taking to promote and protect the right to freedom of religion or belief in that country.
30 January 2019
The UK remains concerned by continued issues related to religious freedom in Iraq but welcomes signs that Iraq's new leadership is actively promoting respect for religious minorities. For example, the Vatican Secretary of State made an official visit to Iraq in December, and the Iraqi Prime Minister's new Cabinet declared Christmas Day an official holiday for all Iraqis, not just Christians.
The UK is committed to promoting and protecting the right to freedom of religion or belief across Iraq. We regularly underline this to Iraqi political leaders, emphasising that this right is critical to building an inclusive, stable and tolerant country. Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon reinforced this message with the new Iraqi Foreign Minister Al-Hakim in December 2018. As part of our efforts, we are also funding a project to pilot a new curriculum on freedom of religion or belief in secondary schools in Iraq.