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Freedom of Religious Belief: International Ministerial Conference

Volume 716: debated on Thursday 23 June 2022

4. What role the Church will play in supporting the UK-hosted international ministerial conference on freedom of religion or belief in July 2022. (900664)

The Church of England is working closely with the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office to support the international ministerial conference on freedom of religion or belief taking place in London the week after next, and very much wants the conference to make a difference. The Archbishop of Canterbury will address the conference.

Christian minorities across the world are clearly under threat of forced conversion or potentially death. What more can the Church do to ensure that minorities are protected across the world, starting with this conference?

My hon. Friend is right. Christians are the most persecuted faith, and the Church of England will always stand up for all people who are being persecuted. He is also right that the Church needs to show global leadership by building relationships with the leaders of other faiths and with Governments so that there can be truthful conversations about what change needs to happen. The Anglican communion has great expertise in inter-faith relations, and we will focus on that in the Lambeth conference this summer. He is also right that that needs to be a priority, given that persecution is getting worse.