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Persecution of Christians

Volume 673: debated on Thursday 19 March 2020

6. To ask the hon. Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what recent assessment the commissioners have made of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s progress on implementing the recommendations in the Bishop of Truro’s independent review for the Foreign Secretary of FCO support for persecuted Christians. (901631)

The Church of England is pleased that the Government have repeatedly said they will implement in full the recommendations of the Truro review. The Church is in regular contact with the review implementation team. Promoting faith literacy among our diplomats remains work in progress, but we are reassured by continuing work on that aspect of the review.

I thank my hon. Friend for his answer. As the world looks to navigate the challenge of the virus, other challenges clearly remain. Indeed, those challenges can be exacerbated in such circumstances, so what steps is the Church of England taking to work hand in glove with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to tackle anti-Christian persecution across the world?

I know my hon. Friend takes a strong interest in this important area. The Church is working closely with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and with the Department for International Development to develop better religious literacy, and the Anglican communion combats persecution against all people of faith, or of no faith, around the world. The Church would welcome a Magnitsky Act to target sanctions against those who persecute people for their religion or belief, in line with recommendation 8 of the review. Quarterly progress statements on the implementation of the review would also be helpful.