Thank you for contacting me about Christian Solidarity Worldwide and the launch of "Faith and a Future".
As indeed I made clear in the Horsham Churches Together hustings at the last General Election I am extremely concerned about the persecution of Christians worldwide. I was encouraged that the Prime Minister raised the issue of Freedom of Religion or Relief in her recent Christmas message, reaffirming the UK's determination to stand up for the freedom of people of all religions to speak about and practice their beliefs in peace and safety.
I know that promoting and defending Freedom of Religion or Belief is a foreign policy priority for the Government. This year we will celebrate 70 years of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights.
Freedom of religion or belief matters because faith guides the daily lives of more than 80 per cent of the world's population. It also matters because promoting tolerance and respect for all helps us to have inclusive societies that are more stable, prosperous and better able to resist extremism.
The UK recently worked with international partners to sustain consensus on the adoption and implementation of the European Union-sponsored Resolution on 'Freedom of Religion or Belief' and the Organisation for Islamic Cooperation-sponsored Resolution on 'Combating Religious Intolerance'.
In his statement in September, at the UN Human Rights Council, FCO Minister, Lord Ahmad, reiterated the importance of working together towards the full realisation of Freedom of Religion or Belief for all individuals worldwide. The UK also strongly supports the work of the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief.
I support this campaign but unfortunately due to other parliamentary commitments, I am unlikely to be to attend the lunch on 27 February.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.