Putting Religious Freedom Back on the Map

July 22, 2022

In an article published this week in The Critic, Miles Windsor, Senior Manager for Strategy and Campaigns for RFI’s Middle East Action Team, reflected on how the UK Ministerial Conference to Advance Freedom of Religion or Belief put “religious freedom back on the map.” Windsor writes:

Last week, Westminster was a thoroughly thrilling place to be. The atmosphere was electric. The temperature climbed, literally and metaphorically. Powerful voices demanded attention and demanded change. An impassioned call for a better way forward reverberated and built to a crescendo. I’m not talking about the decline and fall of a Prime Minister. Something far more important was happening just around the corner from Number 10.

For one Conservative blonde bombshell, the first week in July will be remembered as the week when it all came crashing down. For another, Fiona Bruce MP, it marked a heroic zenith. Bruce, as Prime Minister’s Special Envoy for Religious Freedom, along with her small but remarkable team, overcame seemingly insurmountable obstacles in order to successfully deliver the international UK Ministerial Conference to Advance Freedom of Religion or Belief. “The Ministerial”, for short, is an annual international government conference established in 2018 by the US State Department. 

The UK iteration delivered a powerful message about religious freedom. It was understood that the persecution of people based on their religious identity and convictions is a global blight of unfathomable proportions. There was clarity that the restriction of religious freedom didn’t only impact minority religious groups but was detrimental to the stability and flourishing of communities and nations more broadly. And there was a sense of determination for governments, religious leaders, and campaigners to work together better, to redouble their efforts, and to focus on achieving tangible outcomes in the advancement of this essential human right. Increasing and improving education around religious freedom and  peaceful pluralism was highlighted as a priority going forward. Leaders, including Liz Truss, were clear that impunity for nations that violated these freedoms couldn’t continue. 

Read the full article: Putting religious freedom back on the map