Lord Alton’s written questions on religious minorities

Lord Alton of Liverpool, vice chair of this APPG, has asked a series of written questions on issues of persecution.

He asked if the Government have requested that the United National Security Council refer those responsible for religious persecution in the areas of Iraq and Syria controlled by ISIS to the International Criminal Court.

Responding, The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office Baroness Anelay of St Johns (Con) said that the Government would continue to look at every available option to ensure accountability in Iraq and Syria; working with international partners on what can be done to both assist the victims and to bring those responsible to justice. Furthermore, Baroness Anelay highlighted that she will fully support the work of the UN Commission of Inquiry and continue calls for them to be given unfettered access to investigate human rights violations and abuses.

He also asked the Government what assessment they have made of the reported burning of churches and forced religious conversions of Christian women by the group Boko Haram, in north-east Nigeria.

Responding, Baroness Anelay of St Johns (Con) condemned the destruction of churches and all other atrocities conducted by Boko Haram. She also asserted that the group have caused great suffering across all communities, deliberately targeting the weak and vulnerable with no respect for gender, ethnicity, religion or age. The UK, alongside other international partners, is committed to helping Nigeria end this violence and tackle the threat posed by Boko Haram, Baroness Anelay added.

Finally, he asked the Government what assessment they have made of reports that Christian groups in northern Cameroon have been particularly targeted by Boko Haram. Responding, Baroness Anelay of St Johns (Con) said that Boko Haram attacks are often indiscriminate, causing suffering in communities of different faiths and ethnicities in northern Cameroon.