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Religious Freedom

Question for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office

UIN HL4894, tabled on 13 December 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to uphold religious freedom in other countries; and what representations they are making to the governments of countries with restrictive blasphemy or apostasy laws which restrict that freedom.

Answered on

23 December 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. Bilaterally, Ministers and officials regularly raise specific cases of concern, and do not shy away from challenging publically or in private those we believe are not meeting their obligations.

Multilaterally, we work with the UN, OSCE, Council of Europe, G7 and other fora to promote FoRB. In May this year, we secured the inclusion of language on FoRB in the G7 communique for the first time, ensuring FoRB remains firmly on the international agenda.

The Government is deeply concerned by the use of blasphemy laws as they generally limit freedom of expression and are only compatible with international human rights law in narrow circumstances. The Government regularly applies diplomatic pressure on countries that misuse blasphemy laws.