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Overseas Aid: Religion

Question for Department for International Development

UIN 71162, tabled on 8 July 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what plans she has in place to ensure that (a) Christians and (b) other religious minorities are not discriminated against because of their faith when UK aid is being distributed.

Answered on

15 July 2020

The UK Government works to ensure that Christian and other religious minorities are not discriminated against during the distribution of UK aid.

The UK is committed to delivering its 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.

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.

The situation of minority communities is taken into account when assessing those most in need of protection and assistance. This includes when a community is being targeted or is otherwise vulnerable because of their faith. We actively consult civil society including faith-based organisations to understand how best to support vulnerable groups. DFID’s due diligence assessments ensure that all organisations have the correct procedures in place to tackle any discrimination including religious minorities. We regularly challenge our partners to demonstrate that they are doing all they can to meet the needs of the most vulnerable people, including those from religious minorities.

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.