Sudan: Religious Freedom

Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office written question – answered on 31st March 2021.

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Photo of Imran Ahmad Khan Imran Ahmad Khan Conservative, Wakefield

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent steps his Department has taken to support freedom of religion in Sudan.

Photo of James Duddridge James Duddridge Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

We welcome the Government of Sudan's pledge to ensure that human rights and freedom of religion and belief are fully respected and commend progress, including legal reforms decriminalising apostasy, declaring Christmas a national holiday and lifting of public order laws that disproportionately affected Christian women. In addition we commend the reference to freedom of religion or belief as part of the Juba Peace Agreement (JPA), including the intention to establish an independent commission for religious freedom in Sudan. However, long-standing human rights issues remain and it will take time for these commitments to impact ordinary people as the country transitions to democracy and the JPA is implemented. The Foreign Secretary emphaised the need for progress on human rights reforms when he met Prime Minister Hamdok in Khartoum in January 2021. The UK also continues to work with the Government of Sudan, civil society and the UN Integrated Transition Assistance Mission Sudan (UNITAMS), to deliver further progress as part of our wider work to support human rights improvements. More broadly our Annual Human Rights Report sets out in detail the UK's approach to human rights priority countries, including Sudan, and the work we have undertaken to promote and protect human rights around world.

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