The Lord Bishop of Manchester asked [on 13 July 2022] Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the outcomes of the International Ministerial Conference on Freedom of Religion or Belief on 5 to 6 July; and what steps they are taking, if any, to review their strategy on freedom of religion or belief following that Conference.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon: The International Ministerial Conference on Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB) hosted by the UK brought together governments, faith and belief leaders and civil society for discussions to address challenges to the enjoyment of the right to FoRB, and had positive outcomes. The Conference gave a platform to those persecuted for their religion or belief. Forty-seven governments, international organisations and other entities pledged action in support of FoRB. Thirty four countries joined the UK in signing up to a set of statements found here.

The Foreign Secretary outlined FCDO progress in implementing recommendations from the Bishop of Truro’s report and noted the breadth of religion and belief groups that suffer from persecution. I [Lord Ahmad] announced new UK funding for support for defenders of FoRB, as well as funding and expertise for countries prepared to make legislative changes to protect FoRB.

Following the Conference, the UK Government remains committed to defending FoRB for all, and promoting respect between different religious and non-religious communities. Promoting the right to FoRB is one of the UK’s longstanding human rights priorities, and as other human rights are, FoRB will continue to be considered in relevant Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office external and internal thematic or country strategies.

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