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Religious Freedom

Question for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office

UIN 175847, tabled on 25 March 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the findings of the report published in 2020 by the APPG for International Freedom of Religion or Belief entitled Commentary on the current state of freedom of religion or belief.

Answered on

14 April 2021

We have taken note of the APPG's recently published report. The UK is committed to defending Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB) for all, and to 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.

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 works 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 works alongside her to drive forward the implementation of the recommendations from the Bishop of Truro's report on FCDO support for persecuted Christians in a way that improves the lives of those persecuted for their faith, or belief, or for not holding a religion.