Freedom of Religion or Belief: International Conference — [Steve McCabe in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 9:30 am on 28th June 2022.

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Photo of Fiona Bruce Fiona Bruce Conservative, Congleton 9:30 am, 28th June 2022

I thank my hon. Friend for that important question. Work is indeed in hand, and I concur with his view that work on that manifesto commitment and on the recommendations of the Truro review must continue. It is far from complete.

At the ministerial conference on freedom of religion or belief, we will welcome hundreds of delegates from over 60 countries, around half of which will be represented by Government Ministers. We will also welcome faith and belief leaders and representatives, civil society activists, academics and—importantly—FORB abuse survivors with their powerful accounts to tell. On 5 and 6 July, after a keynote speech from the Foreign Secretary, we will hold sessions on promoting FORB in the face of global challenges; early warning, and atrocity prevention; FORB and education; promoting FORB in the digital world; engaging the next generation; the multiple vulnerabilities of women and girls; FORB and the media; inspiring parliamentarians; and much more.

Those of us who have planned this conference could not have worked harder to ensure there is a diversity of participants from all faiths and none and from across the world. As the Prime Minister’s special envoy for freedom of religion or belief, I was involved in setting up a civil society advisory group representing many faith and belief backgrounds to help with the planning of the conference. We cannot afford for that conference to be merely a talking shop; it has to lead to increased global action and help drive forward international efforts to protect and promote FORB for everyone, everywhere.