International Freedom of Religion or Belief Day — [Mr Charles Walker in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 1:56 pm on 25th October 2018.

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Photo of Mark Field Mark Field Minister of State 1:56 pm, 25th October 2018

It is important that our debate is framed by that view, so am grateful for my hon. Friend’s wise words. Many people who engage themselves in this issue, but by no means all, come at it from a strongly religious—strongly Christian, in this country—standpoint. It makes life a lot easier for all of us, especially in the areas I cover as a MinisterAsia and the Pacific—when our high commissions and embassies are able to make the case that we are not specially pleading for one particular or predominant religion, but raising a general, human rights-related issue. It is important that we able to do that. That was perhaps not quite the case in the past. I understand the strength of feeling, particularly in Christian communities, as my hon. Friend Andrew Selous rightly pointed out, but this is a human rights issue that applies to all people of all religions and none, as my hon. Friend the Member for Stafford also rightly points out.