The Nicaragua Report

Read the new Nicaragua Report – The Silencing of Democracy in Nicaragua (April 2024)

Read More Here – Nicaragua Report


FoRB and Business

On the 4th of March 2024, at Salesforce Tower London, organisations such as Google, OVO energy, Thames Water, Salesforce and Baringa joined forces to discuss Faith at Work and share good practice.  According to organisations engaged in this considerate and inclusive method of working, the benefits outweigh the challenges.  This is a great step forward in Freedom of Religion or Belief.

ACN Red Wednesday

On Wednesday, November 22, the Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) and the Special Envoy for FoRB, Fiona Bruce MP, hosted a Red Wednesday drop-in event in Parliament. Red Wednesday is an event dedicated to raising awareness of Christian persecution throughout the world. This year, the ACN focused on ongoing persecution in Africa, raising awareness among parliamentarians about humanitarian and conflict situations throughout the continent.

As part of the event, ACN hosted a special guest, Margaret Attah. Margaret lost both of her legs and an eye during an attack on her church on Pentecost Sunday in Ondo State, Nigeria. During the drop-in session, she and her husband spoke powerfully on the need for protective action and justice proceedings in Nigeria.

Last month, ACN published a report titled “ACN’s Africa Update: Religious Freedom in the World – Report 2023,” which detailed the state of FoRB throughout the continent, with a major focus on Nigeria. The report can be accessed at ACN’s website or through this link.

Many at the event and on the parliamentary estate wore red in honour of the occasion. During Prime Minister’s Questions, Fiona Bruce MP asked the Prime Minister about the need to commemorate Red Wednesday with action, particularly through the application of FoRB recommendations found in the FCDO’s recently released International Development White Paper. The Prime Minister agreed, emphasising the need for application of each recommendation in a strategic manner.

FCDO buildings were lit-up in red lights on the night of the 22nd, capping a day of commemoration and renewed resolve to protect the rights of the marginalized throughout the world.

FCDO White Paper on Global Development: Update

On 20th November, the FCDO published a white paper on global development, focusing on alleviating hunger internationally. The paper outlines key objectives for the UK’s international development program. Among its priorities are protection of the Freedom of Religion or Belief, including the need for proper aid distribution to members of minority religious communities in areas of conflict or oppression.

The APPG applauds the FCDO for its inclusion of FoRB concerns in its international development priorities. Further, it calls for strategic implementation of these aims in order to provide development investment and support for those communities most in need or affected by violence and persecution.

A link to the report is included. For further information, see the FCDO’s press release on the white paper’s publication or the white paper itself:

Faith and Belief in the Workplace: Report Launch

On Monday, 20th November, representatives of various corporations gathered at the Palace of Westminster to discuss the importance of Freedom of Religion or Belief in the workplace. At the event, Dr. Brian Grim, founding president of the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation, launched their report “Building Freedom of Religion or Belief Through Faith-and-Belief Friendly Workplaces: A Call To Action.” This report, published in cooperation with the APPG FoRB, outlines a “building” approach to FoRB advocacy, providing a toolkit for corporations of various types and sizes a toolkit to promote FoRB in the workplace, contributing to diversity, equity, and inclusion goals.

Members of the panel included Jim Shannon MP (chair), Lord Alton, Adrian Bettridge (Managing Partner, Baringa), and Dr. Grim. Each spoke on various aspects of religious and belief expression in the workplace, emphasizing the productivity and employee wellbeing benefits which result from increasing inclusion and diversity.

Following their remarks, representatives of the following corporations spoke: Baringa, Dell Technologies, Google, NATS, OVO Energy, Thames Water, the University of Derby, the NHS, Amazon, and Direct Line. They spoke on their respective companies’ efforts and initiatives to promote FoRB in individual workplaces. Each gave valuable insights and highlighted experiences.

Revd. Dr. Russel Rook of the Good Faith Partnership then spoke on their project with the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation to promote FoRB in business in the UK and internationally. Julie Jones, director of the APPG for the Freedom of Religion or Belief, then offered concluding remarks, thanking all guests and participants.


ACN Africa Report Launch

On 24 October 2023, Aid to the Church in Need held its “Religious Freedom in the World Report 2023: Africa Update” launch at Westminster. The report, which draws from extensive research, provides key recommendations for promoting FoRB and addressing persecution against Christians.

Bishop Oliver Dashe Doeme, from Maiduguri, Nigeria, wrote the foreword to the report. In it, he details the persecution of many in his own diocese and elsewhere in Nigeria caused by terrorist attacks and abuse. The figures of deaths, destroyed schools, and churches attacked he offers are staggering.

Bishop Doeme attended and spoke at the report launch, chaired by Baroness Cox. Other speakers included Dr. John Newton (Senior Press Officer for ACN UK), Fiona Bruce MP (Special Envoy for Freedom of Religion or Belief), Jim Shannon MP, and Dr. Caroline Howell (ACN UK Director). Each focused their remarks on various aspects of the situation in Nigeria.

To read the report, see the ACN UK website at this link.

Nepal Report Launch

On 13 September, the APPG FoRB hosted the launch of their report on a January delegation to Nepal. Speakers at the launch included Deputy Special Envoy for FoRB David Burrows, Rachel Miner (founder and CEO of Bellwether International), Professor Mark Hill KC, Catherine West MP, Special Envoy for FoRB Fiona Bruce MP, Tommy Sheppard MP (chair of the meeting), and Julie Jones (APPG FoRB director).

Burrowes began the meeting by giving a brief overview of the FoRB delegation to Nepal’s trip, giving special thanks to APPG FoRB shareholders for providing funding and expertise to the delegation.

Nepal’s constitution guarantees FoRB which has provided an important basis for constructing law and policies in the state. The report proved itself to be an unusual one because of the large number of formal and informal accounts from lawyers, representatives of NGOs, and others addressing the broad interpretations of section 158 of the Nepalese criminal code.

Miner discussed Nepal’s recent political history. She emphasised that the early years after the formation of a new government are when it is most vulnerable. She also noted two areas of concern: the plight of the victims of human trafficking, which is particularly harmful to Nepalese women and children, and the legal status and wellbeing of Tibetan refugees who are currently unable to obtain legal status and asylum.

Hill focused on the recommendations made in the report, which centre on three areas: encouraging Constitutional FoRB provisions and support, suggesting clarifications in criminal code that deal with proselyting and the use of coercive force, and guidelines or a code of practice to help local law enforcement to interpret the criminal code.

West and Bruce both spoke in praise of the report, with recommendations for further actions including a possible debate and written questions.

Sheppard spoke on FoRB generally in the region. He suggested that the lack of international focus on Nepal could be a benefit because of the country’s strategic placement, as well as the need for nuanced recommendations.

Access to the report will be available on the APPG FoRB website under “Reports.” For more details on the delegation, contact APPG director Julie Jones.

APPG Statement on the Arrest of Cardinal Joseph Zen

The arrest of Cardinal Joseph Zen is yet another example of China’s increasing restrictions on fundamental human rights. Members of the APPG on International Freedom of Religion or Belief express their utmost concern and condemnation at Cardinal Zen’s arrest. 


The APPG calls upon the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office to continue their advocacy for Cardinal Zen, along with advocacy for others detained for their support of pro-democracy protestors. 


The crack-down on human rights in Hong Kong deserves immediate attention from the FCDO. The arrest of a leading figure such as Cardinal Zen reflects the grave situation in Hong Kong and the continued threat to human rights.



An Urgent Question on the matter was asked of the Government and can be found here.


APPG Statement on the sentencing of Mubarak Bala

The APPG expresses its utmost concern as regards the sentencing of Mubarak Bala, President of the Nigerian Humanist Association, to 24 years in prison, for expressing what were deemed to be blasphemous opinions on Facebook.

The APPG urges the Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office to work towards securing Mubarak Bala’s release. We ask that the department renews efforts to promote an end to blasphemy laws where they are used to curb freedom of religion or belief – particularly within the Commonwealth.

The imprisonment of Mubarak Bala reflects a further deterioration in the protection of freedom of religion or belief in Nigeria. The APPG calls on the UK Government to do more in response to such egregious violations of human rights.


This statement was updated on Thursday April 7th

International Day of Conscience 2022

On this International Day of Conscience, we as an APPG recognise the challenges that must be overcome to ensure freedom of conscience for all and its relevance to Freedom of Religion or Belief. We call on government leaders to do more to release prisoners of conscience and put an end to imprisonment on such grounds. In particular, we support the immediate safe release of Mubarak Bala, Nasser Navard Gol-Tapeh, Leah Sharibu, and Nguyễn Bắc Truyển – about whom more information can be found here.

As an APPG we work to advocate on behalf of prisoners of conscience in different countries and aim to raise awareness of those who are imprisoned for holding different religious or belief views from that of the majority in which they live. We are always grateful to parliamentarians who support this work, and who use their voice to advocate for those who cannot do so. 

We must not ignore the overlap between freedom of religion or belief and freedom of conscience. Globally, thousands of people suffer imprisonment for speaking or acting in accord with their conscience. This is a clear violation of human rights and threatens freedom of religion or belief more broadly. 

On this International Day of Conscience, we urge more parliamentarians to advocate on behalf of a prisoner of conscience to help raise awareness of their cause, ask for action from officials in this country and abroad, and to safeguard against further violations of human rights, particularly as pertains to freedom of religion or belief. Together, we believe that we can live in a free society where freedom of religion or belief for all is a reality.