A new report from the Foreign Office has placed freedom of belief at the very heart of promoting human rights and democracy. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Human Rights and Democracy report focuses especially on the persecution of Christians.
In the preface, the Foreign Secretary wrote: “I was deeply disturbed to learn that 215 million Christians faced persecution in 2018, according to a study by the campaign group Open Doors… I am not convinced that our efforts have always been commensurate with the scale of the problem or the empirical evidence that Christians often endure the greatest burden of persecution.”
He outlines his departments’ priorities as the international right to freedom of religion or belief, and journalistic freedom.
This is an amazing answer to prayer. And it shows how your voices are making a practical difference at the highest levels.
Your voice makes a difference
Thanks to the support of people like you, who consistently speak out for our persecuted church family, the challenges they face are climbing higher on the agenda. For example, the Indian section at the Foreign Office is planning a programme designed to help marginalised Indian Christians to understand their legal rights. These Christians belong to the dalits – the lowest class in India’s social hierarchy, and they face daily discrimination and persecution.
The Foreign office is launching a campaign ‘to pool legal experts in Dalit Christian colonies in Andhra Pradesh to identify victims of persecution and help them seek legal advice from minority rights experts.’ In addition they are running workshops for young people promoting interfaith tolerance and identifying and training ‘youth champions’ who will run their own projects to engage the next generation on inter-faith issues.
Open Doors has for many years been calling on the UK government to support this most marginalised of groups, and our recent report – We’re Indians Too – outlines how persecuted Christians in India could be supported by the international community. Praise God that Christian dalits are, in a small way, beginning to receive the help they need.
But there is a lot more to do. Currently Christian and Muslim dalits do not enjoy the same provision or protection as dalits of a Hindu, Sikh or Buddhist background. So while our persecuted brothers and sisters around the world are being remembered by the UK government, we must continue to call for a level playing field for Christian dalits across India.
Send a copy of the report to your MP
You can continue to support India’s persecuted Christians by sharing the 'We're Indians Too' report. Why not download a copy and share it with others in your church?
Thank you! Your voice is speaking truth to power. And it is making a real difference!
- For words to turn into action, especially for practical help for Christian dalits in India
- That more governments would recognise the extent to which Christians are persecuted around the world, and would make it part of their agenda.
- That Open Doors staff would be given wisdom and grace as they speak truth to power.