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UK News

UK Gov asked when it will implement plans to help persecuted Christians

The UK Government has been asked when it plans to implement the Bishop of Truro's recommendations surrounding the persecution of Christians.

In 2019, Rt Rev Philip Mountstephen conducted a review for the Foreign Office which made several recommendations about how to improve the lives of Christians in countries such as Nigeria, Iraq and Sri Lanka. 

It included advice such as training civil servants in religious literacy so they could better understand asylum cases and imposing sanctions on countries that violate people's freedom of religion. 

In the last two weeks, questions about the timing of implementing these recommendations have been answered by the Government. 



Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon and Heather Wheeler, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary at the Foreign Office, replied to questions from Christian peer Lord David Alton of Liverpool and Steve Baker MP about the timescale by saying: "The British government is committed to implementing the recommendations from the Bishop of Truro's Review. The recommendations have been divided into short, medium and longer term priorities and we have already implemented a good number of them. 

"This includes recently appointing a Director General level champion for Freedom of Religion or Belief and marking Red Wednesday in support of persecuted Christians and members of other minority groups. Some of the recommendations will take longer to implement and many will require an ongoing effort to embed into the working practice of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and other Departments."

Rehman Chishti, the Government's Special Envoy for freedom of religion and belief, asked the Foreign Secretary on Monday in the House of Commons whether it will prioritise freedom of religion.

Mr Chishti said: "Eighty per cent of individuals around the world identify themselves as of one faith or another and our Government have a strong track record of standing up for freedom of religion or belief. They commissioned the Truro review, and 10 out of its 22 recommendations have been taken forward. Will he confirm that that will always be a key priority?"

The Foreign Secretary replied to the special envoy, saying that the Government does want to protect the right of religious groups and the right to exercise faith and conscience, as well as wanting to introduce an award for those who defend journalists because of the role they play in getting stories about oppressive regimes and non-government oppressors out in the open. 

He added: "Once we have left the EU and regained control of our sanctions rules, the Government will implement the Magnitsky provisions of the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018. That will give us a powerful new tool to hold the perpetrators of the worst human rights abuses to account."

The Foreign Secretary also tweeted on Wednesday about Open Doors' World Watch List (of the countries most dangerous to be a Christian in), saying it would inspire the Government to do more. 




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