Boris' words of support for persecuted Christians "need to be matched with action", says CEO of Open Doors UK and Ireland
24 December 2019
Boris Johnson's mention of persecuted Christians in his Christmas message is to be welcomed, says Henrietta Blyth, CEO of Open Doors UK and Ireland, a charity standing up for persecuted Christians worldwide.
However, Blyth says, “the proof of the pudding is in the eating” and that the newly re-elected government needs to remember the issue when they are negotiating new trade agreements post-Brexit.
Prime Minister Johnson has expressed solidarity with Christians around the world who face persecution, in his first Christmas message to the UK.
He said that his government will defend those Christians’ right to practise their faith and that he wants to bring change to the reality of Christmas being celebrated in secret, “perhaps even in a prison cell.”
Henrietta Blyth has responded saying:
“It’s really positive he is saying something on this publicly, but the proof of the pudding is always in the eating. One of the challenges is Brexit and how trade agreements will be negotiated with countries, where Christians and Muslims are having an increasingly difficult time. We would like to see the government raise religious freedom in its trade discussions.”
“If the Government wants to defend freedom of religion or belief, it is all the more important that MPs educate themselves about these issues. We hope that as many as possible from all parties will attend the launch of our World Watch List in January.”
This comes on the eve of the launch of the 2020 World Watch List early next year in Parliament. The list is a ranking of 50 countries where it is most difficult to practise the Christian faith. It is produced using detailed information provided by Open Doors co-workers in more than 60 countries, as well as independent experts.
According to the 2019 World Watch List that was launched last January, Open Doors estimated that 245 million Christians experience high levels of persecution in 73 countries from China to sub-Saharan Africa.