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Fiona Bruce MP appointed to freedom of belief role

Fiona Bruce, Conservative MP for Congleton has been appointed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson MP as his Special Envoy for Freedom of Religion or Belief.

Fiona Bruce, who is also Vice-Chair of the All-Party Group for International Freedom of Religion or Belief said: “I am honoured to be given this opportunity to serve as the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy for Freedom of Religion or Belief. There is much to do, and my post will be placed at the service of some of the most vulnerable people across the world.

"People like young girls Leah Sharibu from Nigeria and Maira Shahbaz from Pakistan, both brutally abducted from their homes and whose plights I was able to highlight recently in the House of Commons.

"This appointment comes in the light of continuing large scale horrors taking place – such as those against Uighur Muslims in China, Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar and Yazidis in Iraq and at a time when, as the late and much respected former Chief Rabbi, Jonathan Sacks stated “the persecution of Christians throughout much of the Middle East, sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, and elsewhere, is one of the crimes against humanity of our time.”

"These are some of the most deeply concerning issues of our generation, on which it will be a privilege to engage as Special Envoy, both nationally and internationally, with others similarly concerned.”

She continued, “Having travelled to countries such as Burma, Nigeria and Nepal and heard first-hand accounts of atrocities and persecution being meted out there, I know how much those who are suffering from this appreciate advocacy on their behalf, even from afar. I was reminded of this movingly only recently following a meeting with Leah Sharibu’s mother Rebecca, expressing appreciation to UK Parliamentarians that her daughter and others “held in captivity are not forgotten about or disregarded.

"The role of Special Envoy for FoRB is based upon Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. As a founder member of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Freedom of Religion or Belief, and a signatory to that APPG’s first report of 2013 – which described Article 18 as an “orphaned right” – I believe it is time to bring the orphan out of the orphanage.

"As the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy for Freedom of Religion or Belief, I look forward to working further with Parliamentarians and NGOs on behalf of those persecuted for their faith or beliefs across the world. I pay tribute to the dedicated work on this issue of many Parliamentarians and others, and hope to build on their work to further raise the profile of FoRB as a human right. For as Boris Johnson MP the Prime Minister said recently in the House of Commons 'We all know that wherever freedom of belief is under attack, other human rights are under attack as well'.”

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