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Sub-saharan Africa: Christianity

Question for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office

UIN 139091, tabled on 18 January 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, pursuant to the 2021 Open Doors World Watch List, what steps he is taking to address the rise in violence against Christians in sub-Saharan Africa.

Answered on

26 January 2021

The UK is committed to defending Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB) for all, and promoting respect between different religious and non-religious communities. We remain deeply concerned about violations and abuses of FoRB in many parts of the world, including in sub-Saharan Africa. Where we have concerns, we raise them directly with governments, including at ministerial level. The Minister responsible for Human Rights, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, underlined the UK's commitment to FoRB for all in a number of international meetings in November 2020, speaking at the Ministerial to Advance Freedom of Religion or Belief and the Ministers' Forum of the International Religious Freedom or Belief Alliance. We have also reviewed and taken note of the 2021 Open Doors World Watch List.

On 20 December 2020, the Prime Minister reaffirmed his commitment to FoRB by appointing Fiona Bruce, MP for Congleton, as his Special Envoy for FoRB. 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. Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon will also be working alongside her to drive forward the implementation of the Bishop of Truro's recommendations on FCDO support for persecuted Christians in a way that improves the lives of those persecuted for their faith, belief, or for not holding a religion.