Religious freedom is 'fundamental human right', says Baroness Warsi


Baroness Warsi convened a meeting of foreign ministers on Friday to discuss international efforts to fight violence in the name of religion.  

The meeting was held in New York to coincide with the meeting of the UN General Assembly.

Those present included the Secretary General of the Organisation of Islamic Co-operation Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu and the Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird.  

The meeting also discussed efforts to promote freedom of religion and belief for all.  

Speaking after the meeting, Baroness Warsi said the UK was committed to promoting UN Human Rights Council Resolution 16/18, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of religion or belief and the incitement of violence against people based on their religion or belief. 

"The freedom to practice, change or share your faith or belief without discrimination or violent opposition is a fundamental human right that all people should enjoy," she said.

"Sadly too often around the world that right is denied to people of different religions or beliefs. I believe that societies which aim to guarantee freedom of religion or belief are stronger, fairer and more confident."

Baroness Warsi said the UK was encouraging practical action in every country to combat religious intolerance and defend the right of all people to contribute to society regardless of their religion or belief.  

She added: "It is vital that we move beyond UN resolutions into practical actions that demonstrate that violence in the name of religion or belief is never justified."