I am proud that the United Kingdom is an open and respectful society which values people's freedom to be themselves, and practise their religion or belief, without fear, prejudice or persecution. But, we must never be complacent, be it at home or abroad, in rooting out intolerance and standing up and defending the right of freedom of religion for all.
It is hard to comprehend that today we still see people being attacked and murdered because of their faith and so we must reaffirm our determination to stand up for the freedom of people of all religions and beliefs to be able to practise their beliefs in peace and security.
In the summer, in recognition of the importance of the subject, the Prime Minister appointed a Special Envoy on religious freedom, Lord Ahmad, to work with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to achieve a step-change in diplomatic efforts to defend the right to religious freedom and proactively work for change in selected countries.
I am proud that the UK worked alongside international partners to maintain consensus on the adoption and implementation of the Resolution on Combating Religious Intolerance at the UN Human Rights Council last March. More recently, the Government has committed £12 million of additional funding to champion religious freedom worldwide, working with faith groups, NGOs and academics to promote religious diversity and helping countries embed such policies alongside poverty reduction and development.
I was delighted to attend the launch of the Open Doors' 2019 World Watch List and hear first accounts of the impact of religious persecution around the world. I hope that you are reassured that the UK will maintain a firm commitment to promoting and defending religious freedom around the world.