Raising awareness and profile of international freedom of religion or belief as a human right among parliamentarians, government, media and the general public
All-Party Parliamentary Groups
APPGs are informal cross-party groups that have no official status within Parliament. They are run by and for Members of the Commons and Lords, though many involve individuals and organisations from outside Parliament in their administration and activities.
The All-Party Parliamentary Group for International Freedom of Religion or Belief exists to raise awareness and profile of international freedom of religion or belief as a human right among Parliamentarians, media, government and the general public in the UK, and to increase the effectiveness of the UK’s contribution to international institutions charged with enforcing this human right.
This is not an official website of the House of Commons or the House of Lords. It has not been approved by either House or its committees. All-Party Parliamentary Groups are informal groups of Members of both Houses with a common interest in particular issues. The views expressed in these webpages are those of the group. The content of this website is the sole responsibility of the Officers of the All Party Parliamentary Group for International Freedom of Religion or Belief.
The APPG held its inaugural meeting on 5 February 2020 Minutes
The APPG held an EGM on 11 November 2020 Minutes
The APPG held its 2018 AGM on 24 October 2018 Minutes
The APPG held its 2017 AGM on 18 July 2017 Minutes
The APPG held its 2016 AGM on 24 May 2016 Minutes
View other meetings of the APPG
View the APPG’s Income and Expenditure Statements: July 2018 to July 2019; July 2019 to November 2019 – the break-down of the income (monetary donations) is available upon request. The APPG pays the London Living Wage to its staff.
What is an all-party group?
An All-Party Parliamentary Group is made up of Parliamentarians (MPs and Members of the House of Lords) who share a particular interest in a subject and wish to co-ordinate their work around this issue. They are informal, cross-party groups that have no official status within Parliament and are not accorded any powers or funding by it; they should not be confused with select committees, which are formal institutions of the House.
In 2012 a Speakers’ Working Group noted that these groups “are an effective way for Members of both Houses to inform themselves about specific subjects, to respond to outside concerns, and to have direct contact with external audiences”.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has clearly stated that the defence of freedom of religion or belief worldwide is a priority for its work. Thus the issue of international freedom of religion or belief is very firmly on the Parliamentary agenda, and Parliamentarians have significant opportunities to support and advance this right.
The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on International Freedom of Religion or Belief was established in July 2012 with the following purpose:
“To raise awareness and profile of international freedom of religion or belief as a human right amongst parliamentarians, media, government and the general public in the UK; and to increase effectiveness and awareness of the UK’s contribution to international institutions charged with enforcing this human right.”
“In my role as chair of the all-party group on international freedom of religion or belief, I campaign on behalf of all who are persecuted, not just Christians, because I am a Christian and I believe that my God loves everyone. That is why I, and all hon. Members present, believe that it is our duty to speak out not only for those of Christian faith, but for people of any faith and of course, just as important, those who do not profess a faith at all.”
Jim Shannon MP House of Commons, March 2020
“As other noble Lords have highlighted the disturbing scale of persecution in our world today, I will focus on those suffering from persecution whom I have met, and seek to be a voice for them. Time allows me to highlight only three often neglected situations: the persecution of Muslims in parts of Sudan, Christians in northern and central Nigeria, and those in Thailand who have had to flee for their lives from the application of sharia law in Pakistan. It is with a heavy heart that I report the findings from my visits, especially because those who endure such suffering are largely unreached by the world’s major aid organisations and off the radar screen of international media.”
Baroness Cox House of Lords, July 2019
“I am concerned that our international-facing Departments spend enormous amounts of money responding to crisis but do little to promote freedom of religion or belief in order to prevent conflict.”
Preet Kaur Gill MP, House of Commons, February 2020
“Manipulation of religious sentiment to persecute those of other faiths is a sad feature of human rights abuse in much of the world.”
Lord Singh of Wimbledon
“We also have a lot of work to do to ensure the continuation of freedom of religious belief, which we all hold so dear as an absolute value in this House. We must support that and do everything we can, across all parties in this House, to ensure that it is one of the core fundamental values that underpin our democracy.”
Lisa Cameron MP
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