Embrace contributes to FCO review of persecuted Christians


An update from Tim Livesey, Embrace CEO:

Back in December – to general astonishment – Jeremy Hunt announced he had asked the Bishop of Truro, Rt Rev Philip Mounstephen, a former Director of the Church Mission Society, to carry out an independent review of the persecution of Christians worldwide, and of the Foreign Office’s response.

How big is the problem? How adequate, or not, has the Foreign Office’s (FCO) response been?

The subject is complex and has been neglected by governments, including ours, for too long. It is heartening this government seems to want to take it seriously. But Bishop Philip and his review team have their work cut out if they are to make a lasting difference.

Embrace was among the first to offer assistance. In March we submitted a written submission addressing the issues – the extent of persecution and discrimination – as they relate to the Middle East. Do read the submission below.

I then gave oral evidence to the Review team in early April, focussing on our, frankly, downbeat assessment of the FCO’s response to date.

We recommended a number of innovations we think will be crucial if the Foreign Secretary’s apparent willingness to tackle this issue is to have any real bite.

These range from mandatory reporting of freedom of religion issues by embassies worldwide, to religious literacy training for all FCO staff, to imploring the government to put more Department for International Development (DFID) money into supporting Christian churches, communities and non-government organisations like our extraordinary partners.

We were also pleased to see that Bishop Philip’s interim report takes into account the complexities of the issues and we look forward to contributing further with and on behalf of our Christian partners.

Jeremy Hunt – we are on your case!

Download our written submission here (600kb)
Download our oral evidence transcript here (665kb)