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Developing Countries: Religious Freedom

Question for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office

UIN 178603, tabled on 12 April 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent steps he has taken to support marginalised religious and belief communities in developing countries that have been affected by the covid-19 pandemic.

Answered on

20 April 2021

We are continuing to assess the impact of Covid-19 on members of all minority religious and belief communities. At a country level, Ministers and officials regularly raise specific cases of concern, and discuss practices and laws that discriminate on the basis of religion or belief. At a multilateral level, we work within the UN, International Religious Freedom or Belief Alliance ('Alliance') and other international organisations to promote and protect freedom of religion or belief for all where it is threatened.

The Minister of State responsible for human rights, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, virtually attended the Ministerial to Advance Freedom of Religion or Belief in Warsaw in November 2020 and reaffirmed the UK's commitment to promoting FoRB, particularly during the pandemic. In August 2020, we issued a joint statement with the Alliance calling for states to ensure that any restrictions to the right to freedom of religion or belief are necessary, proportionate and time-limited to protect public health.