Christian MP Fiona Bruce has been appointed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson MP as his Special Envoy for Freedom of Religion or Belief.
On announcing the appointment this week, Mr Johnson said: “The UK is absolutely committed to protecting the inalienable right to freedom of religion and belief, at home and around the world.
“As we approach Christmas, the season of peace, people of all faiths and none are still being persecuted for their beliefs.
“I am delighted to appoint Fiona as my special envoy on this issue, and I know she will be a passionate advocate for tolerance and freedom.”
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab MP said: “Fiona has been a standard setter for Freedom of Religion or Belief in Parliament, and I look forward to working with her to make sure everyone, everywhere can have and practice a faith, belief, or no religious belief, in accordance with their conscience.
“Acting as a force for good in the world will see the UK continue to promote and defend Freedom of Religion or Belief for all.”
On accepting her appointment Ms Bruce said: “I am honoured to be given this opportunity to serve as the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy for Freedom of Religion or Belief. There is much to do, and my post will be placed at the service of some of the most vulnerable people across the world.
“This appointment comes in the light of continuing large scale horrors taking place – such as those against Uighur Muslims in China, Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar and Yazidis in Iraq and at a time when, as the late and much respected former Chief Rabbi, Jonathan Sacks stated “the persecution of Christians throughout much of the Middle East, sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, and elsewhere, is one of the crimes against humanity of our time.” These are some of the most deeply concerning issues of our generation, on which it will be a privilege to engage as Special Envoy, both nationally and internationally, with others similarly concerned.”
The MP for the Congleton continued: “Having travelled to countries such as Myanmar, Nigeria and Nepal and heard first-hand accounts of atrocities and persecution being meted out there, I know how much those who are suffering from this appreciate advocacy on their behalf, even from afar.
“The role of Special Envoy for FoRB is based upon Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. As a founder member of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Freedom of Religion or Belief, and a signatory to that APPG’s first report of 2013 – which described Article 18 as an “orphaned right,” – I believe it is time to bring the orphan out of the orphanage.
“As the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy for Freedom of Religion or Belief I pay tribute to the dedicated work on this issue of many Parliamentarians and others, and hope to build on their work to further raise the profile of FoRB as a human right. For as the Prime Minister said recently in the House of Commons “We all know that wherever freedom of belief is under attack, other human rights are under attack as well.
“What this will not do is take away from my dedication to serving my constituents who I remain as committed to as when I was first elected in 2010. It is my privilege to serve this wonderful area in Parliament.”
In this new role Ms Bruce will encourage states around the world to uphold their obligations to Freedom of Religion or Belief for all their citizens.
Ms Bruce will work alongside the Minister responsible for Human Rights, Lord Tariq Ahmad of Wimbledon, to drive forward the implementation of the Bishop of Truro’s recommendations on FCDO support for persecuted Christians, in a way that improves the lives of those persecuted for their faith or belief.
Picture: Fiona Bruce. (Richard Townshend/Wikimedia Commons).