Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has acknowledged the ‘dramatic rise in violence’ against Christians globally, and launched an independent review to investigate.
An estimated 215 million Christians faced discrimination and violence last year, and an average of 250 were killed for their faith each month.
Mr Hunt says Britain “can and must do more” to help persecuted Christians, and has commissioned the review to determine how it can do that, with the report expected by Easter.
Led by the Bishop of Truro Rt Revd Philip Mounstephen, the review will focus entirely on Christian persecution.
Its aims are to map the persecution of Christians in the Middle East, Asia and Africa, assess how much support the UK Government currently offers, and make recommendations on how the Government should respond.
Christian charity Open Doors monitors and ranks global persecution of Christians.
Eight of the top 20 countries where it believes Christian persecution is at its worst are states in which the UK claims or seeks diplomatic influence, including Saudi Arabia and India.
Hunt launched the review at a meeting with senior church leaders and survivors of persecution, saying that “Britain has long championed international religious freedom”.
Lord Ahmad, the Special Envoy on Freedom of Religion or Belief, added: “We are seeking to identify additional practical steps to help stop the appalling levels of violence that saw 3,000 Christians murdered” because of their faith in 2018.
Bishop Mounstephen said: “I’ll be taking an objective look at how the British Government can better respond to the pressing plight of persecuted Christians around the world.”