The Catholic Church and the Church of England have made a joint submission to the Foreign Affairs Committee Inquiry into the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s 2012 Human Rights and Democracy Report.
The International Affairs Department of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales alongside the Church of England’s Mission and Public Affairs Council submitted the submission with the following summary:
We welcome both this inquiry and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s (FCO) commitment to the human rights agenda as demonstrated in the 2012 Human Rights and Democracy Report (HRDR).
Church networks may be able to support the Foreign Secretary’s commendable Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative, but real progress turns on whether this initiative continues to be a priority for the Government beyond its Presidency of the G8.
We welcome the inclusion of freedom of religion and belief as one of the FCO’s six human rights priorities and the practical work the FCO has been undertaking in this area, but we do not consider the 2012 HRDR reflects the FCO’s own assessment (with which we agree) that freedom of thought, conscience and belief underpin many other fundamental freedoms.
We make a number of recommendations designed to encourage consideration of how the report might better reflect this reality, and how the UK’s human rights agenda might be advanced.
You can download the full submission and its recommendations by using the link in the top right-hand corner of this page.