One we missed, alas…
On 22 August, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office published a press release detailing a statement read out on behalf of the Prime Minister by Lord Ahmad, his Special Envoy on Freedom of Religion or Belief, during discussions at the UN on safeguarding religious minority groups, as follows:
“Freedom of religion or belief is at the heart of what the UK stands for. We will do everything possible to champion these freedoms and protect civilians in armed conflict, including religious, ethnic or other minorities. We are determined to use the tools of British diplomacy in this cause, including our permanent seat on the UN Security Council.
In light of mounting evidence that Christians suffer the most widespread persecution, we asked the Anglican Bishop of Truro to carry out an independent review to ensure that our work in this area matched the scale of the problem. We have accepted, and will implement, all of the Review’s challenging recommendations. We will use the UK’s global reach and programme funding to improve the lives of persecuted people. Today we are opening a call for bids on how to take this forward.”
The funding announcement builds on the recommendations of the Bishop of Truro’s recent review into the persecution of Christians.
Lord Ahmad, who is also Minister of State for the Commonwealth UN and South Asia at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, added:
“Those belonging to religious minorities face a number of challenges, from armed conflicts, mass murders and violent assaults to everyday discrimination.
The heinous attacks this year on places of worship from the Philippines to Burkino Faso, New Zealand to Sri Lanka, have reminded us all that the fundamental human right of freedom of religion or belief is increasingly under threat.
Today, as we commemorate the victims of such acts of violence, we demonstrate our commitment to supporting research to change people’s lives and help build a world free of religious intolerance and hatred.”
The full text of the press release is here.