The persecution of Christians, or any other religious group, is entirely unacceptable. Everyone should be able to practise and profess their religious faith free from persecution.
The recently published independent report on Foreign Office support for persecuted Christians found that Christians are the most persecuted group, with persecution of Christians in some parts of the world at near “genocide” levels.
Religious organisations such as Open Doors play an important role in highlighting these terrible violations of human rights. I hope the Government will therefore carefully consider the points raised by Open Doors in relation to the recommendations made by the independent report.
I believe the protection of human rights, including freedom of religion and belief, should be at the heart of UK foreign policy. We must do everything in our power to ensure that people of faith across the world have the freedom to pursue their beliefs without fear of harassment or victimisation. That is why I have long been committed to seeing the appointment of a global ambassador for religious freedom to fight discrimination and promote equality globally.
In July 2018, the Prime Minister announced the appointment of a new Special Envoy for Religious Freedom. I hope the Government will ensure that there is effective co-ordination across departments to ensure this role is effective. I also believe the UK should use all diplomatic means available, including bilateral relations and multilateral forums such as the UN, to ensure that international law is adhered to where there are humanitarian issues and breaches of human rights.