On 27 October 2015 the APPG for International Freedom of Religion or Belief held a briefing session for the APPG’s stakeholders with the Foreign Office’s Head of Equality & Non-Discrimination Team in the Human Rights & Democracy Department, Sue Breeze, on Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB) and the new FCO approach to human rights.
This briefing provided a good opportunity for stakeholders to question the FCO’s change from having FoRB as one of its eight human rights priorities to setting up a ‘three pillar’ human rights framework around the themes of ‘democratic values’, ‘the rules-based international system’ and ‘human rights for a stable world’.
Ms Breeze emphasised the relevance of FoRB to all three of these themes and that, upon framing FoRB within them, organisations working to advance this human right might be able to more effectively engage with FCO policy and projects than previously before.
The first of the FCO’s projects is to engage with ‘education in the Middle East and North Africa’. APPG Stakeholders and FCO officials working on FoRB will meet again to discuss this project and receive suggestions regarding the FCO’s future projects and thematic foci in the coming months.