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Politics

Government to boost support for persecuted Christians abroad

by Tola Mbakwe

The UK government has committed to increase protections for Christians who are having their right to freedom of religion violated abroad.

It has promised to implement all the recommendations in “full” from a report into the persecution of Christians around the world that was released last July.

The report, commissioned by former foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt, found that 80 per cent of religiously motivated attacks in the world are against Christians and coined the term 'Christophobia'.

In the report Rev Philip Mountstephen, Bishop of Truro made a number of recommendations including the government being prepared to impose sanctions, ensure they are able to respond to immediately atrocities and establish a fund to go towards helping persecuted Christians.

It also advised the government should seek a new UN Security Council Resolution urging all governments in the Middle East and North Africa to protect Christians and allow UN observers to monitor the necessary security measures.

Baroness Goldie, Minister of State at the Ministry of Defence, said during a foreign affairs debate last week that the government not only intends to “implement the recommendations in full” but will enforce Magnitsky-style sanctions on nations which violate human rights.”

The Magnitsky Act was created in the US while former president Barack Obama was in office. It allowed the US government to sanction human rights offenders.

Baroness Goldie added: “Secondary legislation will be laid under the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018 once we leave the EU.

“This will allow the UK to impose Magnitsky-style sanctions in response to serious human rights violations or abuses.”

The announcement comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson vowed to stand with persecuted Christians during his Christmas message.

Earlier last year he also vowed to implement the recommendations from the report.

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