Religious Freedom

Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office written question – answered on 30th November 2020.

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Photo of Brendan O'Hara Brendan O'Hara Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Inclusive Society), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (International Human Rights and Conflict Resolution)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the findings of the Pew Research Center’s 11th annual study of restrictions on religion published on 10 November 2020, that Government restrictions on religion rose to a record high in 2018; and what steps he is taking to tackle restrictions on religion in the (a) Middle East, (b) North Africa and (c) Asia.

Photo of Nigel Adams Nigel Adams Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

We have seen the Pew Research Centre's 11th annual study of restrictions on religion and are concerned by its findings. The UK is committed to defending Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB) for all, and promoting respect between different religious and non-religious communities. We remain deeply concerned about violations and abuses of FoRB in many parts of the world, including the Middle East, North Africa and Asia. Where we have concerns, we raise them directly with governments, including at Ministerial level. The Minister responsible for Human Rights, Lord Ahmad (Tariq) of Wimbledon, underlined the UK's commitment to FoRB for all in a number of international meetings earlier this month, speaking at the Ministerial to Advance Freedom of Religion or Belief and the Ministers' Forum of the International Religious Freedom or Belief Alliance.

The Magna Carta Fund for human rights has been used to fund a series of projects around the world, including projects to combat intolerance. The FCDO has also supported research projects in a diverse range of geographic regions, including Asia and the Middle East. These projects have provided the Government with specific recommendations on how we might tackle the problem of persecution as it affects particular countries or groups

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