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Russian Federation: Religious Freedom

House of Lords written question – answered on 13th May 2002.

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Photo of Lord Hylton Lord Hylton Crossbench

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they consider that any of the following events demonstrate denials of freedom of conscience and religious liberty by the Russian Federation:

(a) the refusal of entry to Russia for Bishop J Mazur on 19 April;

(b) the picketing of the Bishop's cathedral in Siberia, during a religious service on 21 April;

(c) the removal of a current Russian visa from the passport of the Reverend S Caprio at Moscow airport, on or before 11 April; and

(d) difficulties and delays imposed on 3 April on the building of a Roman Catholic church in the city of Pskov; and whether they will raise these matters with the Russian Government, directly and multilaterally, in the context of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Photo of Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean Minister of State (Middle East), Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Minister of State (Trade), Department of Trade and Industry, Minister for Trade and Investment and Deputy Leader of the House of Lords (also Department of Trade and Industry), Minister of State (Trade and Investment) Deputy Leader of the House of Lords (also FCO)

The UK is committed to the promotion and protection of religious freedom and we condemn instances where individuals are persecuted because of their faith or belief. Her Majesty's Government are aware of these events and are watching developments closely. The European Union has collectively called on the Russian Federation authorities to clarify the cases of Bishop Jerzy Mazur and Father Stefano Caprio. We continue to be concerned at the difficulties faced by some religious organisations in Russia. We have regularly raised our concerns with the Russian authorities and will continue to do so.

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