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Religious Freedom: Christianity

Question for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office

UIN 143053, tabled on 25 January 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of trends in the Open Doors 2021 World Watch List.

Answered on

28 January 2021

We have taken note of the 2021 Open Doors World Watch List. 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. 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.

In 2019, the Bishop of Truro released a report commissioned by the then FCO looking into FCO support for persecuted Christians, 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. 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 not to do so, in accordance with their conscience.

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