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Overseas Aid: Poverty

Question for Department for International Development

UIN 68292, tabled on 2 July 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps she is taking to ensure that her Department's spending on poverty relief includes (a) Christians and (b) other religious minorities who are persecuted for their faith.

Answered on

7 July 2020

The UK Government works to ensure that all aid reaches the most vulnerable including those from Christian and other religious minorities who are persecuted for their faith.

The UK is committed to delivering its humanitarian aid according to internationally recognised humanitarian principles. These principles ensure that humanitarian assistance is delivered to those who are most vulnerable and most in need of this assistance. This includes vulnerable religious minorities.

DFID’s use of country context analysis has increased the extent to which religious dynamics and religious groups are factored into all of our country programmes. DFID undertakes interdisciplinary analysis of a country’s politics, society, state and economy to identify the most significant problems that hinder development and the main entry points and opportunities to create change. There is a strong emphasis on how politics, security, and demographics interact with economic growth and human development. This includes the role of religion and the persecution of religious minorities.

Vulnerable religious minority groups will experience crises such as COVID-19 outbreaks differently. Crises are likely to reinforce their marginalised position in society, their experience of discrimination, violence and stigma, and further limit their access to essential support and services. For this reason, guidance was circulated across DFID highlighting that inclusion must be central to our response and the specific contexts and needs of vulnerable religious communities and other vulnerable groups should be taken into account when developing practical programmes of assistance.

On 8 June, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister of State responsible for Human Rights, hosted a roundtable to hear from faith leaders and faith-based development organisations about the specific challenges minority faith communities are facing during this COVID-19 pandemic.

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