On Tuesday, 5 and Wednesday, 6 July 2022 the foreign, commonwealth and development office will host its first freedom of religion or belief conference in London. Hundreds of faith leaders, foreign ministers, and non-governmental organisations will come together to discuss and agree action to tackle religious persecution and discrimination around the world.

Freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) is an important human right, protected in international human rights law and reinforced in domestic legislation like the Equality Act 2010 and the Human Rights Act 1998. FoRB protects all individuals in the religious belief they choose to practice privately and publicly and also protects individuals who decide not to subscribe to any religion or philosophical belief.

A core principle of FoRB is that neither the state, government actors or individuals within a society can mistreat, coerce or discriminate against another based on religious or no belief. It truly is a human right protecting all people around the world.

Focused action on reducing Christian persecution overseas

The Open Doors 2021 watchlist report found that more than 360 million Christians around the world suffer significant persecution for their faith. This injustice is not limited to one region or political system, but unfortunately permeates every continent around the world.

The international ministerial conference in July is an important opportunity for the UK government and wider British society to discuss and learn about the importance of religious freedom and the scale of abuse experienced around the world.

Both the Evangelical Alliance and the World Evangelical Alliance will be attending the conference and meeting conference delegates and government officials to share specific action the state and government can do to advocate for persecuted Christians overseas.

"So that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honoured, every part rejoices with it. (1 Corinthians 12:25-26)"