On 19 July 2023, the Church of England issued the following Press Release on the UN Security Council’s adoption of UK Government resolution on Freedom of Religion or Belief.
The Bishop of Truro, Philip Mounstephen, has welcomed the UN Security Council’s adoption of a joint UK / UAE Government resolution highlighting threats to Freedom of Religion or Belief.
The steps taken by the UK Government followed a review authored by Bishop Philip at the invitation of the then Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, the implementation of which has since become Government Policy.
In a vote, the Security Council adopted the proposal, which will see the UN Secretary General produce an oral report on Freedom of Religion or Belief related threats to international peace and security. The initial deadline is 14th June 2024, with the intention of such a statement becoming an annual event.
Bishop Philip welcomed the vote, saying: ”I’m delighted by this news of the implementation of one of the key recommendations of the Truro Review – especially in the light of the fact that last year it was deemed unlikely that any Security Council Resolution on Freedom of Religion or Belief would be possible.”
“That it’s happened is huge credit to the UK’s UN team and speaks volumes of the UK’s commitment to this vital human right. This, along with other recent actions, puts this issue firmly on the international geo-political table.”
The Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt said: “I’m proud and delighted to see this key recommendation of Bishop Philip’s report implemented and send my warm congratulations to the UK team at the UN on their very impressive work.”
The action taken by the British government is the first time a Security Council Resolution has been passed on Freedom of Religion or Belief, and puts in place Recommendation 20 of the Truro Independent Review:
The FCO to use the United Kingdom’s position, as a Permanent Member of the United Nations Security Council, to seek a Security Council Resolution to call on all governments in the MENA Region to:
a. ensure the protection and security of Christians, and other faith minorities, in their respective countries;
b. facilitate the establishment of security and protection arrangements for Christians, and other faith minorities, within the legal and governance structure of their respective countries;
c. permit United Nations observers to monitor the protection and security arrangements for Christians and other faith minorities in their respective countries.
FCO also to consider taking a similar approach for other regions as appropriate.