To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, following the International Ministerial Conference on Freedom of Religion or Belief, they will (1) introduce a Religious Freedom Bill guaranteeing the provisions of Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and (2) make the appointment of a Special Envoy on Freedom of Religion or Belief a statutory requirement.
21 July 2022
The International Ministerial Conference on Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB) hosted by the UK brought together governments, faith and belief leaders and civil society for discussions to address challenges to the right to FoRB. The Conference gave a platform to those persecuted for their religion or belief. Forty-seven governments, international organisations and other entities pledged action in support of FoRB. Thirty countries joined the UK in signing up to a set of statements. My Right Honourable Friend, the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs (Elizabeth Truss), outlined FCDO progress in implementing recommendations from the Bishop of Truro's report and noted the breadth of religion and belief groups that suffer from persecution. I [Lord Ahmad] announced new UK funding for support for defenders of FoRB, as well as funding and expertise for countries prepared to make legislative changes to protect FoRB.
FCDO policy on FoRB, and the work of the FoRB Special Envoy, is grounded in international human rights law and standards and recognises the interdependence of all human rights, and the importance of respect for the promotion of democracy, rule of law and stability around the world. The role of FoRB Special Envoy is an appointment made by the Prime Minister and currently held by Fiona Bruce MP. We work closely together to promote FoRB around the world. The Human Rights Act contains protections for the ECHR Article 9 right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, and the new Bill of Rights will continue this protection.