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Persecution of Christians

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:30 pm on 6th February 2020.

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Photo of Heather Wheeler Heather Wheeler The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs 1:30 pm, 6th February 2020

My hon. and gallant Friend puts forward a noble cause, but I am afraid I must write to him on that.

So, we call out specific countries, as I have mentioned, and through our extensive diplomatic network we also lobby Governments for changes in laws and practices, and we raise individual cases of persecution. As the House will understand, the safety of the people we support is paramount and, given that much of this work is sensitive, it is best done in private. Finally, we also support work to promote freedom of religion or belief; we have given over £1 million for projects in Iraq, Malaysia, Myanmar and Sudan.

I am proud of our efforts, but we know that we alone cannot defend freedom of rights or belief. It requires concerted efforts by faith groups, NGOs, civil society, human rights defenders and others, including parliamentarians. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all Members from across the House for their work to defend this human right internationally. With your continued support, I hope we will succeed in this ambition to end religious persecution once and for all. I look forward to the rest of the debate.