New freedom of religion report urges government to stay accountable

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The All-Party Parliamentary Group for International Freedom of Religion or Belief launched the report on Wednesday, to mark International Freedom of Religion or Belief Day which falls on 27th October.

Entitled Article 18: From Rhetoric to Reality, it highlights that Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights hasn’t been taken seriously in several instances across the world.

It also underlines practical measures that the UK Government can take to protect the millions who are vulnerable to violence and discrimination.

Christian DUP MP Jim Shannon told Premier it’s time to stop talking about Article 18 and “make it a reality”.

He added: “We want to make it a critical priority they would establish a programme within the Foreign Commonwealth Office to ensure all their embassies are able to respond to persecution.”

The report compiled an extensive amount of persecution evidence across the world including the Eritrean Orthodox Church patriarch who has been jailed for several years, bombings at Egyptian Coptic churches, and the 800,000 Rohinyga Muslims and 120,000 Christians that have fled Myanmar.

In the foreword to the report Dr Ahmed Shaheed, United Nations Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Religion or Belief said: “Despite global commitments to promote and to protect freedom of religion or belief, the scale of violations remains enormous, with almost 80 per cent of the world’s population living in countries with “high” or…

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