HC Deb 21 January 2002 vol 378 c578W
Mr. Reed

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make it his policy to produce an annual report on the observance of human rights worldwide, with particular reference to religious freedom; and if he will make a statement. [28606]

Peter Hain

Promotion of human rights, including freedom of thought, conscience and religion, is at the heart of our foreign policy. We condemn instances where individuals are persecuted because of their faith or belief, wherever they happen and whatever the religion of the individual or group concerned.

Human rights are inter-related and interdependent. In practice, violations of the right of freedom of religion are often accompanied by violations of other rights; for instance, of freedom of speech and association, freedom from torture and the right to a fair trial. Protecting and promoting freedom of religion is most effective when it is done in the context of the promotion and protection of other human rights.

The Government were pleased to lay before Parliament their fourth Annual Report on Human Rights on 17 September 2001. The report details what the UK has done to promote human rights abroad. It included a section on freedom of religion in the chapter dealing with democracy and diversity. The section sets out some of the action that we have taken to promote religious freedoms in, for example, Turkmenistan, Pakistan and China.

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