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Religious Freedom

Question for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office

UIN 163145, tabled on 4 March 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure that his Department promotes religious freedom throughout the world.

Answered on

12 March 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. Promoting the right to FoRB is one of the UK's longstanding human rights priorities. Ministers and officials regularly raise specific cases of concern, and discuss practices and laws that discriminate on the basis of religion or belief.

In 2019, the Bishop of Truro released a report commissioned by the then Foreign Secretary looking into the then 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 ten, made good progress on a further eight, 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 underlined the UK's commitment to FoRB for all in a number of international meetings in November 2020, speaking at the Ministerial to Advance FoRB and the Ministers' Forum of the International Religious Freedom or Belief Alliance ('Alliance'). On 20 December 2020, the Prime Minister reaffirmed his commitment to FoRB by appointing Fiona Bruce MP as his Special Envoy for FoRB. Mrs Bruce represents the UK at meetings of the Alliance who work to advocate for the rights of individuals being discriminated against or persecuted for their faith or belief.