Jim Shannon – 2016 Parliamentary Question to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Jim Shannon on 2016-05-24.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if the Government will raise the link between religious freedom and the degree of broader political liberalisation and stability during peace talks on Syria.

Mr Tobias Ellwood

United Nations Security Council Resolution 2254, which the UK supported, urges all parties to the UN-facilitated political process to adhere to the principle identified by the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) to protect the rights of all Syrians, regardless of ethnicity or religious denomination. Through our membership of the ISSG we will continue to seek to ensure that Syrian minorities will be included and safeguarded as the political process progresses. In our contact with members of the Syrian opposition, who have signed up to the Geneva Communiqué, we have maintained a strong line on our commitment to pluralism and the need to ensure that Freedom of Religion or Belief is enshrined as a constitutional right. A proportion of the High Negotiations Council, including members of the negotiating team, are drawn from religious minority groups in Syria’s richly diverse population.