On 6th July 2017 the Bishop of Coventry, Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, received two written answers, on freedom of religion or belief and violence towards people because of their faith, gender or sexuality:
The Lord Bishop of Coventry: to ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they intend to create an ambassador-level champion for freedom of religion or belief.
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon: Her Majesty’s Government remains firmly committed to the promotion and protection of Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB). We continue to actively seek ways to improve the efforts of overseas posts working to support religious freedom. Through our bilateral meetings, we raise individual cases and highlight practices and laws that discriminate against people on the basis of their religion or belief. In 2017/18 the Foreign and Commonwealth Office will spend approximately £750,000 on six FoRB projects across a range of countries, including Pakistan and Iraq. Whilst the Government has not created an Ambassador-level champion for FoRB, I have this issue a key priority for my team as the Minister responsible. I will seek to review this proposal on a periodic basis.
The Lord Bishop of Coventry: to ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to expand their global efforts to combat extremism, terror and the perpetration of violence against people because of their faith, gender or sexuality.
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon: This Government firmly believes that all people should be able to live free from violence regardless of their religion or belief, gender identity, or sexual orientation. We work to protect and promote human rights through the UK’s Counter-Extremism Strategy. Community engagement is crucial for tackling hatred and intolerance and forms an important part of our efforts to tackle extremism in the UK and overseas. Our international effort is aimed at safeguarding the UK by mobilising the international system and building capacity to tackle violent extremism and the ideological basis of associated extremism effectively. Implementation of the UN Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism is central to this effort as is the UN Global CT Strategy. We are working closely with international partners to give further momentum to the UN’s efforts.