Bishop of Leeds asks Government about security of Christians, freedom of religion and belief

On 4th, 5th and 6th February 202o the Bishop of Leeds, Rt Revd Nick Baines, received written answers, to questions on freedom of religion and belief.

The Lord Bishop of Leeds: HL750 Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to negotiate a United Nations Security Council Resolution calling on all governments in the Middle East and North Africa region to (1) ensure the protection and security of Christians, and other faith minorities, (2) facilitate the establishment of security and protection arrangements for Christians, and other faith minorities, within the legal and governance structures, and (3) permit UN observers to monitor the protection and security arrangements for Christians and other faith minorities, in each of those countries.

 Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon: ​We are liaising with the UK mission to the UN in New York on how best to implement this recommendation. We are keen to work with all governments in the Middle East and North Africa region and support them to protect Christians and all religious minorities from persecution. The Government remains committed to implementing all the recommendations of the Bishop of Truro’s Review in full and in a way that will bring real improvements to the lives of those persecuted because of their faith or belief.


The Lord Bishop of Leeds: HL746 Her Majesty’s Government whether they have been invited to attend the United States National Prayer Breakfast at the White House on 6 Feb.
 Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon: Both I and the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy for Freedom of Religion or Belief plan to attend the US National Prayer Breakfast on 6 February in, Washington DC.​


The Lord Bishop of Leeds: HL749 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what (1) human, and (2) financial, resources have been made available to support the Office of the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy on Freedom of Religion or Belief.
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon: Promoting Freedom of Religion and Belief (FoRB) globally is a key priority of this Government. The office of the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy on Freedom of Religion or Belief is supported by a Chief of Staff, and we are recruiting an Assistant Private Secretary. In addition, we also have a FoRB team whose work includes providing policy advice and support to the Special Envoy and other Ministers. For this financial year, we have agreed the Special Envoy’s office will receive £73,453 to cover travel and administration costs. Future funding will be decided at a later stage.


The Lord Bishop of Leeds: HL747 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what discussions they have had with the government of the United States about joining its International Religious Freedom Alliance; what assessment they have made of that Alliance; and what consultation they have undertaken with civil society and other interested parties about the effects of joining that Alliance.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has held discussions with the US and other countries about joining the Alliance. We will be announcing our decision on our membership shortly.


The Lord Bishop of Leeds:  HL748 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what consideration they have given to hosting a ministerial conference on Freedom of Religion or Belief in 2020 or 2021.
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon: Promoting Freedom of Religion or Belief is a longstanding human rights priority for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). The FCO has already agreed to host in 2020 conferences on Preventing Sexual Violence and COP26 then co-host a conference on the Equal Rights Coalition on LGBT rights. We will announce a decision on whether the UK will host a ministerial level conference on Freedom of Religion or Belief shortly.