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Religious Freedom

Volume 502: debated on Wednesday 9 December 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on how many occasions each UK mission has raised the question of persecution or discrimination in relation to (a) the Christian faith, (b) the Islamic faith, (c) Judaism, (d) Sikhism, (e) Hinduism, (f) Buddhism and (g) other religious faiths in each of the last 12 months; and if he will make a statement. (304445)

The UK condemns all instances of persecution and discrimination against individuals and groups because of their faith or belief, wherever they occur and whatever the religion of the individual or group concerned.

All the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s (FCO) overseas missions have a responsibility to monitor and raise human rights in their host countries. Our embassies raise freedom of religion or belief in a variety of different contexts. We take action on individual cases where persecution or discrimination has occurred; lobby for changes in discriminatory practices and laws; raise freedom of religion or belief in bilateral and EU human rights dialogues; and work in the UN and other international organisations to uphold universal standards. The FCO does not keep statistics on our lobbying on religious persecution or indeed on broader human rights issues.