Mubarak Bala

Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 2nd June 2020.

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Photo of Stephen Doughty Stephen Doughty Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs), Shadow Minister (International Development)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether he has made representations to his Nigerian counterpart on the arrest of the President of the Humanist Association of Nigeria, Mubarak Bala.

Photo of James Duddridge James Duddridge Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (Joint with the Department for International Development)

The UK Government, along with international partners, is monitoring the arrest of Mubarak Bala closely. The Nigerian authorities are yet to confirm the charges against Mr Bala. I raised Mr Bala's case with the Nigerian Minister of Foreign Affairs during our call on 21 May. Our High Commission in Abuja is discussing the case with the Nigerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Police.

The Prime Minister's Special Envoy for Freedom of Religion or Belief, Rehman Chishti MP, is also personally looking into Mr Bala's case on an urgent basis, and has raised this matter with international counterparts. On 6 May, Mr Chishti spoke with the Chief Executive of Humanists UK and stressed the UK's engagement on this case. The Minister of State responsible for Human Rights, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, also discussed Mr Bala's case with the Chief Executive on 20 May.

We will continue to stress the importance of a transparent investigation that respects Mr Bala's human rights, the rule of law, and the Nigerian constitutional right to freedom of religion or belief. Defending freedom of religion or belief for all remains a UK policy priority and we will continue to use our voice internationally to protect this human right, championed by Mr Chishti.

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