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Religious Freedom

Question for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office

UIN 138077, tabled on 14 January 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he is taking to help tackle the persecution of religious minorities abroad.

Answered on

22 January 2021

The UK remains deeply concerned about the severity and scale of violations and abuses of Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB) in many parts of the world. The UK is committed to defending FoRB for all, and promoting respect between different religious and non-religious communities. Where we have concerns, we raise them directly with governments, including at Ministerial level.

In 2019, the Bishop of Truro released a report commissioned by the then FCO with recommendations to improve the lives of people persecuted for their religion, faith or belief. Of the 22 recommendations, we have fully delivered 10, made good progress on a further 8, and we are confident that all 22 will be delivered by the time of the independent review in 2022.

The Minister responsible for Human Rights, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon has underlined the UK's commitment to FoRB, including in November 2020 at the Ministerial to Advance Freedom of Religion or Belief and the Ministers' Forum of the International Religious Freedom or Belief Alliance. On 20 December 2020, the Prime Minister appointed Fiona Bruce, MP for Congleton, as his Special Envoy for Freedom of Religion or Belief. Mrs Bruce will work with ministers, officials and others to deliver the Government's goal of seeing everyone, everywhere able to have and practise a faith, belief, or no religious belief, in accordance with their conscience.