Cuba: Support for Christians

Church Commissioners – in the House of Commons at on 11 January 2024.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Fiona Bruce Fiona Bruce Conservative, Congleton

What steps the Church is taking to support Christians in Cuba.

Photo of Andrew Selous Andrew Selous The Second Church Estates Commissioner, The Second Church Estates Commissioner

I commend the Prime Minister’s special envoy for freedom of religion or belief for yet again bringing this issue before the House. It is extremely concerning that the Cuban Government continue to control religious activity so tightly by using surveillance, harassment, forced exile, fines and ill-treatment of prisoners. The Church of England works multilaterally through the United Nations, the World Council of Churches and other bodies to advocate vigorously for freedom of religion or belief for everyone in Cuba.

Photo of Fiona Bruce Fiona Bruce Conservative, Congleton

I thank my hon. Friend for that reply. The Open Doors 2024 world watchlist will be launched in the Palace of Westminster on 17 January, and I urge all colleagues to attend. I anticipate that once again it will, sadly, indicate a deteriorating picture of freedom for Christians around the world as autocratic regimes seek to suppress dissenting voices.

On Cuba, I thank the Church Commissioner for sharing my concerns about reports on the worsening situation, particularly for religious leaders there. As he mentioned, many are subject to harassment, fines, forced exile, detention and ill-treatment in prison. Will he join me in calling for the release of religious prisoner of conscience Pastor Lorenzo Rosales Fajardo?

Photo of Andrew Selous Andrew Selous The Second Church Estates Commissioner, The Second Church Estates Commissioner

My hon. Friend is absolutely right that the case of Pastor Lorenzo is all too indicative of a worsening climate of freedom of religion or belief in Cuba. The Church of England calls on the Cuban Government to release Pastor Lorenzo immediately, along with all those others detained in relation to the 11 July protests. The international community must continue to follow this case closely and hold Cuba to account bilaterally and multilaterally. My hon. Friend has put Pastor Lorenzo’s name on the record in this House. I also endorse everything she said about the Open Doors event in the House next Wednesday.