The Lord Bishop of Coventry – 2016 Parliamentary Question to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office

The below Parliamentary question was asked by The Lord Bishop of Coventry on 2016-03-22.

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the extent of freedom of religion or belief in Iraq and in Iraqi Kurdistan.

Baroness Anelay of St Johns

The Government is firmly committed to promoting and protecting the right to freedom of religion and belief in Iraq and condemns strongly all persecution on the grounds of faith or creed.

The situation for religious communities including Muslims, Christians, Yazidis and others in Iraq remains deeply concerning. Daesh has committed atrocities against religious groups and persecuted individuals and communities on the basis of their religion or beliefs.

Freedom of religion and belief is protected in the Iraqi constitution and we welcome the commitments made by the Government of Iraq to protect all Iraqis and address human rights abuses and violations.

We continue to engage with religious leaders both in the UK and in Iraq to discuss the situation of religious communities. We also encourage influential religious leaders in Iraq to speak out publicly and condemn sectarian violence. We are working to build consensus around the importance of freedom of religion and belief, as well as its promotion and protection. This includes funding a project to prevent intolerance and violence towards religious communities by inspiring key leaders in Iraqi society to publicly defend and support the right of all Iraqis to freedom of religion and belief.