Persecution of Christians Overseas

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:16 pm on 18th July 2019.

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Photo of Chris Philp Chris Philp Conservative, Croydon South 2:16 pm, 18th July 2019

That is a question that requires very serious consideration, and of course there are many persecuted Christians from countries such as Iraq and Syria who might wish to seek asylum as well.

Last year, again in Pakistan, Suneel Saleem was beaten to death by a group of doctors—a group of doctors—in the Services hospital in Lahore when he protested about the anti-Christian abuse his heavily pregnant sister had suffered at the hospital. The US State Department says that the Pakistani Government themselves have

“engaged in or tolerated systematic, ongoing and egregious violations of religious freedom”.

Yet, just a few weeks ago Pakistan’s Foreign Minister speaking in Brussels dismissed concerns as being “whipped up” by “western interests.” His attitude is not acceptable, especially bearing in mind that the UK Government send £463 million a year in aid to Pakistan—it is the single biggest recipient of UK overseas aid, but we do not attach conditions about ending persecution of religious minorities.

The litany of persecution goes on. In May 2017 two churches in Sudan were destroyed on the orders of the Government. In June 2017 some 33 Christian women in Eritrea were imprisoned by the Eritrean Government simply for taking part in prayer. And in India, 24,000 Christians were physically assaulted last year. Prime Minister Modi dismissed that as “imaginary fears”; he is wrong and we should say so.