To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by the Minister of State for Africa on 28 January (211702), what was the Sudanese Foreign Minister’s response to the concerns the Foreign Secretary raised in the 22 January meeting about the need for an end to violence and for political reform; and what steps they are taking to promote human rights, including freedom of religion or belief, in Sudan since the fifth meeting of the biannual UK–Sudan strategic dialogue on 24 April 2018.
When she met the Sudanese Foreign Minister on 22 January, the Minister for Africa communicated the UK's concerns about the Sudanese government's response to recent protests, emphasising the importance of the rule of law and human rights. The Sudanese Foreign Minister registered the depth of these concerns and set out his assessment of the economic challenges that had initiated them. We have continued to raise human rights, including freedom of religion or belief, regularly with the Government of Sudan at all levels. I visited Sudan in September 2018 and raised religious freedoms with senior members of the government, as well hearing directly from a number of religious leaders. I also raised the need for action to address these issues with the Sudanese delegation in the margins of the biannual UK–Sudan strategic dialogue in November 2018. Most recently we supported an event in Khartoum on 29 January with the Bishop of Leeds to press for greater religious freedoms, after which the Government of Sudan announced the dropping of restrictions on school opening hours at weekends, a priority freedom of religion issue.