Christianity: Females

Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office written question – answered on 23rd April 2021.

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Photo of Chris Evans Chris Evans Labour/Co-operative, Islwyn

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to support and counsel persecuted Christian women who are stigmatised by sexual violence overseas.

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

The UK is committed to defending freedom of religion or belief for all. We recognise that women and girls from religious minorities can often suffer because of both their gender and their faith. That is why we ensure our human rights policy work considers the intersectionality of human rights, including the importance of addressing the specific vulnerabilities experienced by women and girls from religious minority communities.

The UK is recognised as a global leader in tackling violence against women and girls (VAWG) in all its forms, by pioneering approaches around the world that have shown that VAWG is preventable. In the DRC, a project with faith leaders and community action groups halved women's experience of intimate partner violence from 69% to 29%. Preventing and responding to conflict-related sexual violence remains a top priority for the FCDO. In November, Lord Ahmad launched the Declaration of Humanity by faith and belief leaders which calls for the prevention of sexual violence in conflict and denounces the stigma faced by survivors, including by children born of rape. Through UK Aid Connect, FCDO has supported the Creid programme (managed by the Institute of Development Studies) to work with women from religious minorities in five countries in Africa and Asia to understand the problems they face and identify effective approaches to tackle these issues.

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