Miles Windsor, Senior Manager for Strategy and Campaigns for RFI’s Middle East Action Team, wrote an article published in the The Critic this week titled, “The fight for religious freedom: Parliament should heed Fiona Bruce and make freedom of religion and belief a priority at the foreign office.” Windsor writes:
Tomorrow, Fiona Bruce MP will be presenting a private members bill to Parliament. It’s not a dramatic bill; it isn’t seeking earth shattering commitments from the government. However, it is an important bill and one that should receive widespread cross-party support. The bill proposes that the role she currently occupies, Prime Minister’s Special Envoy for Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB), is secured as a statutory requirement. It means all further governments must appoint a FoRB envoy and guards against the deprioritisation of this concern.
Religious freedom isn’t a particularly fashionable cause but there are an increasing number of parliamentarians, ministers and officials that are recognising the scale of the problem of repression against religious communities globally. On 19th September, parliamentarians from across political divides spoke in a Westminster Hall debate, highlighting the global scourge of persecution and demanding greater action from government to address the issue.
Many in Parliament are compelled by a deep humanitarian concern for the millions who endure a litany of soul and body crushing cruelties on account of their beliefs or religious identity. There is also a growing awareness of the dynamics of religion in the most seismic geopolitical concerns of our day and the critical interplay with religious freedom violations. There is more clarity on how repression impacts Britain’s interests around the world, whether in relation to trade, security or immigration.