The Bishop of Southwark received the following written answers on 26th January 2022:
The Lord Bishop of Southwark asked Her Majesty’s Government what discussions they have had with the government of India over its refusal to allow Oxfam and the Missionaries of Charity operating in that country to receive money from abroad.
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Con): We are aware that some Non Government Organisations (NGOs) have faced difficulties in India due to the application of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) by the Indian authorities, and that some have recently had applications to renew their foreign funding licenses rejected. We continue to support a wide range of local NGO partners in India, including through programmes, and officials have discussed issues facing NGOs directly with the Indian Government.
On 8 January, the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs restored the FCRA license of the Missionaries of Charity, meaning the NGO will be able to receive and use foreign funding again. The British High Commission in New Delhi will continue to monitor developments.
The Lord Bishop of Southwark asked Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Bishop of Truro’s independent review for the Foreign Secretary on the persecution of Christians, what discussions they have had with the government of India following attacks over the Christmas period in various Indian states on churches, Christian schools, and mission facilities, including the vandalism of a statue of Jesus in Ambala at a church in Haryana State.
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon:
We condemn any instances of discrimination because of religion or belief, regardless of the country or faith involved. We look to India to uphold all freedoms and rights guaranteed in its strong constitution and by the international instruments to which India is a party. We engage with India on a range of human rights matters, working with Union and State Governments, and with non-governmental organisations, to build capacity and share expertise to promote human rights for all. Where we have concerns, we raise them directly with the Government of India, including at ministerial level.
The British High Commission in New Delhi and our network of Deputy High Commissions across India regularly meet religious representatives and engage with Indian faith communities. The UK will host an international Ministerial conference on Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB) in 2022 to energise collective efforts on this agenda, demonstrating our enduring commitment to promoting FoRB for all. We also work with the UN, OSCE, Council of Europe, G7 and other multilateral fora to promote FoRB.
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