Foreign Secretary uses Easter message to highlight global persecution of Christians

In his Easter message, Jeremy Hunt said millions of Christians live under a “shadow of persecution” and that he endeavours to see the UK stand “in solidarity” with them.

The Foreign Secretary wrote 40 letters to persecuted Christians and those campaigning on their behalf to encourage them ahead of Easter.

A review into the worldwide persecution of Christians was launched by the Foreign Office in January.

Brother Andrew

Mr Hunt’s first letter was written to the founder of Christian charity Open Doors, 90-year-old Andrew van der Bijl, better known as Brother Andrew.

As a missionary he smuggled Bibles across the Iron Curtain at the height of the Cold War, later writing about it in the bestseller God’s Smuggler.

Hunt told him: “I want you to know that the UK stands in solidarity with persecuted Christians around the world.”


The Foreign Secretary also paid homage to the Dutchman in his Easter address.

Writing for the Mail on Sunday ahead of the attacks in Sri Lanka, he said: “When I first read God’s Smuggler, it was barely possible to hope that the Iron Curtain would one day fall.

245 million Christians are still at risk

Jeremy Hunt, Foreign Secretary

“So when the Berlin Wall dissolved before our eyes in 1989, it was a wonderful blow for freedom, allowing all the European countries that Brother Andrew had visited to win their liberty.

“Yet perhaps this good news has made us complacent about problems elsewhere. Exactly 30 years later, 245 million Christians are still at risk.”

‘First step’

The Bishop of Truro, Philip Mounstephen, who is conducting the Foreign Office’s review, said: “We have something of a blindspot to the persecution of Christians.”

Bishop Mounstephen is expected to submit his findings later this year.

Henrietta Blyth, CEO of Open Doors, said: “This review is a great first step, but the proof of the pudding will be if it delivers concrete change for Christians and if its recommendations are also adopted by other government departments.”

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