Christians suffering persecution abroad have been promised more backing from the UK Government following a new pledge of support.
A year ago, Revd Philip Mounstephen, the Bishop of Truro, was commissioned to review the state of worldwide Christian persecution. He published his findings in the summer.
His report concluded that the persecution of Christians is so extreme it amounts to genocide in some parts of the world. He made a number of recommendations, which the Government has now said it will adopt “in full”.
“we will defend your right to practice your faith.”
In his report, Bishop Mounstephen called on the Government to consider sanctioning countries that persecute Christians, and introduce mandatory religious literacy training for Foreign Office staff.
Speaking in the House of Lords, Baroness Goldie said legislation would be brought forward following the UK’s exit from the EU to “show global leadership” by penalising countries which violate human rights.
She said the UK would impose sanctions “in response to serious human rights violations or abuses”.
This will allow the UK to freeze assets and ban offenders from entering the country.
In December, Prime Minister Boris Johnson used his Christmas address to highlight Christian persecution around the world.
He said that for millions, Christmas Day would be marked “in private, in secret, perhaps even in a prison cell”.
He continued: “As Prime Minister, that’s something I want to change. We stand with Christians everywhere, in solidarity, and we will defend your right to practise your faith.”