Overseas Aid: Religion

Department for International Development written question – answered on 9th July 2020.

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Photo of Theresa Villiers Theresa Villiers Conservative, Chipping Barnet

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps she is taking ensure that religious minorities are not discriminated against during the establishment of aid projects.

Photo of Nigel Adams Nigel Adams Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (Joint with the Department for International Development)

The UK Government works to ensure that religious minorities are not discriminated against during the establishment of aid projects and is committed to delivering its aid according to internationally recognised humanitarian principles. These principles ensure that humanitarian assistance is delivered to those who are most vulnerable and most in need of assistance irrespective of race, religion or ethnicity.

The situation of minority communities is taken into account when assessing those most in need of protection and assistance. This includes when a community is being targeted or is otherwise vulnerable because of their faith. We regularly challenge our partners to demonstrate that they are doing all they can to meet the needs of the most vulnerable people, including those from religious minorities.

Vulnerable religious minority groups can experience discrimination, violence and stigma. For this reason, guidance has been circulated across DFID highlighting that inclusion must be central to our work and the specific contexts and needs of vulnerable religious communities, and other vulnerable groups, must be considered when developing practical programmes of assistance. DFID’s due diligence assessments ensure that all organisations supported have the correct procedures in place to tackle any discrimination of religious minorities.

On 8 June, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister of State responsible for Human Rights, hosted a roundtable with faith leaders and the chief executives of faith-based development organisations. The meeting covered how faith groups are contributing to the response to COVID-19; where those interventions have been most effective; the challenges for faith groups, and, how DFID could work more effectively with faith groups.

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