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Religious Freedom

Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 14th February 2018.

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Photo of Baroness Anelay of St Johns Baroness Anelay of St Johns Conservative

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the remarks made by the Rt Hon Mark Field MP on 26 October 2017 (HC Deb, col 233 WH) that in partnership with Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon he would reissue the freedom of religion or belief toolkit to all ambassadors and high commissioners, what training has been given to staff in post overseas in the use of that toolkit; and whether the toolkit is publicly available.

Photo of Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Minister of State

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) reissued the freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) toolkit to all Embassies and High Commissions on 10 October 2017. The aim of the toolkit is to provide British diplomats with guidance on the human right to FoRB. The toolkit sets out what FoRB means, how it is commonly denied, and how the right to FoRB can be defended and promoted. The toolkit is therefore designed as a self-standing resource for use by British diplomats in any post.

To complement the educational value of the toolkit itself, the FCO runs a variety of learning and development activities to help our staff to develop their religious literacy and their understanding of the way in which religion affects public policy across the world. Furthermore, officials from the FCO's Human Rights Policy Unit maintain very regular contact with a network of colleagues working on FoRB issues in many posts, offering guidance and support as required.

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