It is an extraordinary figure that nearly a quarter of a billion people are suffering persecution today because of their Christian faith. In addition, 80 per cent of people who suffer persecution because of their faith are Christian.
As you know, the Foreign Secretary has asked the Bishop of Truro, Philip Mounstephen to conduct an independent review into the UK's response to the persecution of Christians abroad. The review aims to map levels of persecution and other discrimination against Christians in key countries around the world. It will provide an objective assessment of the impact and levels of Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) support, and make recommendations to the Foreign Secretary.
The UK has played an important role in bringing together other countries that share our values and giving a voice to those who don't have one. However, I fully support this review and am hoping that the outcome of this will be that the FCO has a deeper understanding of what it can do better in this arena.
I look forward to reading the reports that will be published as a result of the review, and I understand that the review will have a strong focus on evidence and consultation with a range of actors, including survivors/victims, civil society institutions, the diplomatic community, governmental and multilateral entities.