To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the extent of persecution of religious minorities within the covid-19 pandemic response in (a) Nigeria, (b) India, (c) Bangladesh, (d) Somalia, (e) China, (f) Myanmar, (g) the Gulf region and (h) other countries.
We are continuing to assess the impact of COVID-19 on minority religious and belief communities around the world. We are deeply concerned by incidents of hate speech targeting minority religious and belief groups, including the rise in conspiracy theories that certain faiths or beliefs are to blame for coronavirus. Such incidents are unacceptable, and the UK will continue to refute these divisive and harmful claims. We are also concerned by reports that some minority communities have been denied access to aid and information. As part of our ongoing work to promote Freedom of Religion or Belief for all, we have issued statements calling for states to ensure that any restrictions to the right to Freedom of Religion or Belief are necessary, proportionate and time-limited to protect public health. The Minister for Human Rights, Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, also urged states to take steps to mitigate the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on the most vulnerable and disadvantaged members of society, including religious and belief minorities, during the UK's closing statement at the 44th session of the UN Human Rights Council.