Developing Countries: Religious Freedom

Department for International Development written question – answered on 26th February 2018.

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Photo of Sammy Wilson Sammy Wilson Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Treasury), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Work and Pensions), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Brexit)

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, how her Department conducts due diligence assessments and evaluates the commitment of its partners to the partnership principles and to promoting freedom of religion or belief.

Photo of Harriett Baldwin Harriett Baldwin Minister of State (Department for International Development) (Jointly with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office), Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (Joint with the Department for International Development)

All due diligence assessments on civil society organisations consider four areas: corporate governance and internal controls; ability to deliver the programme proposed; financial stability; and ability to manage downstream partners. They check for an ethics policy that includes coverage of human rights. A team of DFID staff under the supervision of a Head of Department carry out the assessment, drawing on specialist external expertise when required.

DFID assesses commitment to each of four Partnership Principles when considering providing funding to a government. This is done by specialist DFID Advisers under the supervision of a Head of Department. One of the Principles is ‘commitment to human rights’, which includes freedom of religion or belief. Evidence of lack of commitment to the Principles would influence choices on the amount and type of aid. DFID contractual and grant arrangements for organisations other than governments include specific clauses to prevent any discrimination against protected characteristics, including religion or belief.

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