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World News

Government asked about progress in supporting persecuted Christians around the world

by Cara Bentley

The Government has been asked for an update on the progress of the Bishop of Truro's recommendations to the Foreign Office on how to stop Christian persecution worldwide. 

DUP MP and Christian Jeffrey Donaldson (pictured) asked in a written question: "what progress his Department has made in implementing the recommendations of the Bishop of Truro’s Independent Review of his Department's work to support persecuted Christians."

The Bishop of Truro’s independent review, published in July 2019, explained what the Foreign Office could do to improve the experience of Christians around the world who are currently tortured, discriminated against or put in prison for their faith. 

The recommendations made by Rt Rev Philip Mounstephen, which were accepted in full, included: making freedom of religion and belief (FoRB) central to Foreign Office operation and culture, being prepared to impose sanctions, to do more research into the correlation between FoRB abuses and other human rights abuses and establishing permanently the role of Special Envoy for Freedom of Religion or Belief. 

Representing the Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, Nigel Adams, a minister in the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), replied to Mr Donaldson's question: "The Government has committed to implementing the Bishop of Truro's recommendations in full, and work continues to implement them in a way that will bring real improvement to the lives of those persecuted due to their faith or belief. 

"Of the 22 recommendations we have fully delivered ten, made good progress on a further eight, and are confident that all 22 will be delivered by the time of the independent review in 2022. At a country level, Ministers and officials regularly raise specific cases of concern, and discuss practices and laws that discriminate on the basis of religion or belief."

The minister ended: "On 20 December 2020, the Prime Minister reaffirmed his commitment to FoRB by appointing Fiona Bruce MP as his Special Envoy for FoRB. Mrs Bruce works with the Minister of State responsible for Human Rights, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, to continue work on delivering the recommendations."

To listen to an interview with the Special Envoy for FoRB, Fiona Bruce, about her job, click here. 

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