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World News

Next Prime Minister must put make religious freedom a priority says Catholic charity head

by Donna Birrell

The national director of the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need is calling on the next Conservative party leader and Prime Minister to put safeguarding freedom of religion or belief high on their agenda.

Dr Caroline Hull who attended the recent international ministerial conference on the subject in London tells Premier it's vital the issue isn't forgotten by the next Prime Minister:

"I was part of the ministerial on freedom of religion or belief and we were all really hoping that this was a real chance to get all these people from lots of different faith and belief groups from different countries all over the world to come together and really come out with some concrete results. 

"I think it's unfortunate that because of what is happening in the government at this time, it's potentially stalled the way the UK can reply to some of the issues that were under discussion there. 

"It's just really important for our government to stand up on our behalf to help bring an end to the violence that we see against people of all faiths and none simply for believing something different from the people who are in power in a given situation. 

"We have worked very hard to bring these issues to the attention of the appropriate people in the government, we have wonderful support from various parliamentarians to help with this. So we will keep imploring that the work be done. I just think it's an unfortunate time lag because of the other things that have happened and it's unfortunate if that is stalled by all of this.

"I would hope that the new person who is chosen will make this a priority. There are more acts against freedom of religion against Christians than there are against any other religion." 

In November, ACN is launching Persecuted and Forgotten: A report on Christians persecuted for their Faith 2020-22 which highlights the situation for Christians in 24 countries including China, Pakistan, Nigeria, Mozambique and Afghanistan. 

Dr Hull said: "We are hopeful that we can provide this information to the government. We're hopeful that various members of the cabinet and other members of parliament will take the time to attend our launch and to read the report."

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