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Written Question
India: Violence
Monday 19th June 2023

Asked by: Lord Bishop of Guildford (Bishops - Bishops)

Question to the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office:

To ask His Majesty's Government what representations they have made, if any, to the government of India about reported violence in Manipur State; and in particular, whether they have urged that government (1) to protect vulnerable communities in the state, and (2) to constrain Hindu nationalist narratives in the country which exacerbate communal tensions.

Answered by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon - Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

Our network in India, including our missions in Delhi and Kolkata, continues to monitor the unrest in Manipur. During my most recent visit to India (27-31 May) I (Minister for South Asia) raised this issue with the Government of India. We emphasise the need for disputes to be resolved through dialogue, while recognising this is a matter for India. We remain committed to defending Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB) for all and promoting respect between different religious and non-religious communities. We have a broad and deep partnership with the Government of India, and discuss all elements of our relationship, including raising issues where we have them.


Written Question
India: Violence
Monday 19th June 2023

Asked by: Lord Bishop of Guildford (Bishops - Bishops)

Question to the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office:

To ask His Majesty's Government what steps they have taken, if any, to assist in the government of India in facilitating the return of members of tribal communities who have been displaced from their homes by violence in India’s Manipur State.

Answered by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon - Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

Our network in India, including our missions in Delhi and Kolkata, continues to monitor the unrest in Manipur. During my most recent visit to India (27-31 May) I (Minister for South Asia) raised this issue with the Government of India. We emphasise the need for disputes to be resolved through dialogue, while recognising this is a matter for India. We remain committed to defending Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB) for all and promoting respect between different religious and non-religious communities. We have a broad and deep partnership with the Government of India, and discuss all elements of our relationship, including raising issues where we have them.


Written Question
Pakistan: Charities and Non-governmental Organisations
Friday 16th December 2022

Asked by: Lord Bishop of Guildford (Bishops - Bishops)

Question to the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office:

To ask His Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to support civil society organisations and non-government organisations in Pakistan in making submissions under the 4th Universal Periodic Review of Pakistan.

Answered by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon - Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a process that allows states to reflect critically on their own human rights record. As a founding member of the UN Human Rights Council, the UK has always advocated for the UN human rights fora and will continue to support the Council and the tools and mechanisms it uses, including the UPR process. The UK government will continue to support civil society and Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) - including in Pakistan- to fully engage with the UPR process wherever possible.


Written Question
Pakistan: Centre for Social Justice Pakistan
Friday 16th December 2022

Asked by: Lord Bishop of Guildford (Bishops - Bishops)

Question to the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office:

To ask His Majesty's Government what support they provide to the Centre for Social Justice in Pakistan.

Answered by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon - Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

The UK is a long-term supporter of civil society in Pakistan, and we engage with the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) as part of our work on human rights. I conducted a roundtable discussion with human rights stakeholders - including Peter Jacobs, Executive Director of CSJ - on 15 October, discussing open societies and the work of Non-Government Organisations (NGOs). We continue to engage with the Government of Pakistan to ensure NGOs such as CSJ can operate effectively.


Written Question
Pakistan: Religious Freedom
Monday 5th December 2022

Asked by: Lord Bishop of Guildford (Bishops - Bishops)

Question to the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office:

To ask His Majesty's Government what strategy they have, if any, for promoting freedom of religion or belief in Pakistan; and what discussions they have held with the government of Pakistan in pursuing any such strategy.

Answered by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon - Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

Pakistan is an FCDO human rights priority country and protecting freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) is central to the UK Government's human rights engagement in Pakistan. Lord (Tariq) Ahmad, the Minister for South Asia and Minister for Human Rights, last raised the human rights situation on 14 October, in his meeting with Pakistan's Minister for Human Rights Mian Riaz Hussain Pirzada. The UK has supported projects in Pakistan to promote greater tolerance and religious freedom. Our Aawaz II Programme works with communities to promote the rights of members of religious minorities.


Written Question
China: Detainees
Monday 31st October 2022

Asked by: Lord Bishop of Guildford (Bishops - Bishops)

Question to the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office:

To ask His Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the government of China regarding recent reports that at least 10 leaders from unregistered Protestant churches were arrested and charged with fraud over normal church financial activities in 2021, including Zhang Chunlei, Yang Xiaoguang, and Hao Ming.

Answered by Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park

We are monitoring recent reports of the detention of a number of church leaders in China, which highlight the severe restrictions on freedom of religion or belief in China. We regularly raise the human rights situation in China directly with the Chinese authorities at the highest levels. Most recently, the Foreign Secretary did so in a meeting with his Chinese counterpart on 20 September.


Written Question
Persecution of Christians Across the Globe Independent Review
Monday 27th June 2022

Asked by: Lord Bishop of Guildford (Bishops - Bishops)

Question to the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to implement any of the recommendations of the Bishop of Truro’s Independent Review for the UK Foreign Secretary of Foreign and Commonwealth Office Support for Persecuted Christians, published on 4 July 2019, after 4 July this year.

Answered by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon - Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

The UK is committed to defending freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) for all, and promoting respect between different religious and non-religious communities. Promoting the right to FoRB is one of the UK's longstanding human rights priorities. The Prime Minister reaffirmed his commitment to FoRB by appointing Fiona Bruce, MP, as his Special Envoy for FoRB. On 5-6 July 2022, the UK Government will host an international Ministerial conference in London to drive forward international efforts on FoRB, demonstrating our leading role in supporting freedom and openness.

The Bishop of Truro's review provided recommendations for a Government response to support members of all faiths, beliefs, and those of no religious belief. We have taken forward the 22 recommendations in a way that makes a real change for everyone persecuted for their religion or belief. In line with recommendation 22, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office commissioned an independent review to assess the implementation of the Bishop of Truro's recommendations. The independent report will be published in due course.


Written Question
Persecution of Christians Across the Globe Independent Review
Monday 27th June 2022

Asked by: Lord Bishop of Guildford (Bishops - Bishops)

Question to the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office:

To ask Her Majesty's Government who will conduct the review of the progress made since the Bishop of Truro’s Independent Review for the UK Foreign Secretary of Foreign and Commonwealth Office Support for Persecuted Christians, published on 4 July 2019; what will be their terms of reference; and when the findings of this review will be published.

Answered by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon - Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

The UK is committed to defending freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) for all, and promoting respect between different religious and non-religious communities. Promoting the right to FoRB is one of the UK's longstanding human rights priorities. The Prime Minister reaffirmed his commitment to FoRB by appointing Fiona Bruce, MP, as his Special Envoy for FoRB. On 5-6 July 2022, the UK Government will host an international Ministerial conference in London to drive forward international efforts on FoRB, demonstrating our leading role in supporting freedom and openness.

The Bishop of Truro's review provided recommendations for a Government response to support members of all faiths, beliefs, and those of no religious belief. We have taken forward the 22 recommendations in a way that makes a real change for everyone persecuted for their religion or belief. In line with recommendation 22, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office commissioned an independent review to assess the implementation of the Bishop of Truro's recommendations. The independent report will be published in due course.


Written Question
Persecution of Christians Across the Globe Independent Review
Monday 27th June 2022

Asked by: Lord Bishop of Guildford (Bishops - Bishops)

Question to the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office:

To ask Her Majesty's Government, in advance of the third anniversary of the publication of the Bishop of Truro’s Independent Review for the UK Foreign Secretary of Foreign and Commonwealth Office Support for Persecuted Christians, published on 4 July 2019, whether they intend to fulfil recommendation 22 of that report.

Answered by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon - Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

The UK is committed to defending freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) for all, and promoting respect between different religious and non-religious communities. Promoting the right to FoRB is one of the UK's longstanding human rights priorities. The Prime Minister reaffirmed his commitment to FoRB by appointing Fiona Bruce, MP, as his Special Envoy for FoRB. On 5-6 July 2022, the UK Government will host an international Ministerial conference in London to drive forward international efforts on FoRB, demonstrating our leading role in supporting freedom and openness.

The Bishop of Truro's review provided recommendations for a Government response to support members of all faiths, beliefs, and those of no religious belief. We have taken forward the 22 recommendations in a way that makes a real change for everyone persecuted for their religion or belief. In line with recommendation 22, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office commissioned an independent review to assess the implementation of the Bishop of Truro's recommendations. The independent report will be published in due course.


Written Question
Pakistan: Human Rights
Tuesday 21st June 2022

Asked by: Lord Bishop of Guildford (Bishops - Bishops)

Question to the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office:

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by the National Commission for Human Rights Pakistan Unequal citizens: ending systematic discrimination against minorities, published on 23 May; and what plans they have to use UK Aid to increase employment among young Christians in Pakistan.

Answered by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon - Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

The National Commission on Human Rights' report highlights the challenges faced by Pakistani minorities in accessing government roles and the poor conditions they often face as low-paid sanitation workers. The UK regularly raises concerns regarding the protection of minorities at a senior level with the Government of Pakistan. Our programme funding seeks to address the underlying causes. The Coalition for Religious Equality and Inclusive Development, a UK Government-funded multi-country programme, has implemented a project in Pakistan to protect minorities who work as sewage and sanitation workers. We will continue to urge the Government of Pakistan to guarantee the rights of all people, particularly the most vulnerable.