PA Wire

Jeremy Hunt says politicians in developing countries should stop fanning hatred between religions

The Foreign Secretary has highlighted the importance of politicians in developing countries resisting the urge to fan "populism and hatred between religions in election campaigns".

Jeremy Hunt was asked by Conservative MP Luke Hall what he learned from trips to countries like Nigeria about what more we can do, as a Government, to tackle the appalling persecution of Christians in the region.

Responding, Mr Hunt said: "I had a roundtable of faith leaders at the British high commissioner's residence in Nigeria, and we had a very good discussion on this issue.


"The main thing that I took away from that discussion is the immensely important role that politicians have in developing countries in not fanning populism and hatred between religions in election campaigns, which is a very easy route to go down but can have immensely damaging consequences."

He also agreed with Conservative MP Sir David Anthony Evennett that following the Bishop of Truro's interim report on the persecution of Christians, the Government needs to be "even more public and more forceful in calling out persecution where it is identified".


"We will obviously await the bishop's final report," Mr Hunt said.

"The concern we had, and the reason that we commissioned the report, was a sense that while we have, rightly, called out persecution of people of other religions-the Rohingya in Burma, for example-we have been more reticent in doing that when it is Christians, yet 80 per cent of all the religious persecution in the world happens to Christians."

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