Smith: ‘We must fight against utterly deplorable persecution of Christians worldwide’

Fianna Fáil TD Brendan Smith has said more needs to be done to fight against the “utterly deplorable” persecution of Christians across the world.  

The Cavan-Monaghan TD called on the Tánaiste Michael Martin to ensure action is taken against the maltreatment of people of the Christian faith. 

A recent report by Irish charity Church in Chains claimed more than 200 million Christians in 60 countries face persecution because of their faith. 

Deputy Smith said: “The persecution of Christians and people of any faith is utterly deplorable. The international community must do more to speak out against this continued maltreatment of Christians throughout the world. 

“We must be relentless in highlighting in as many international forums as possible the unacceptable suffering being endured by so many people.”   

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Fianna Fáil leader Michéal Martin, in response to a parliamentary question, told Mr Smith that the Government is considering the Church in Chains report.    

“Ireland strongly condemns all forms of persecution on the basis of religion or belief, irrespective of where they occur or who the victims are,” Mr Martin said.  

“The promotion of freedom of religion or belief is a priority for Ireland and the EU’s human rights engagement at both bilateral and multilateral level, as reaffirmed in The Global Island: Ireland’s Foreign Policy for a Changing World.” 

The Tánaiste added: Ireland continues to work with EU partners to address the persecution of Christians and other religious minorities through the EU Action Plan for Human Rights and Democracy 2020-2024, which includes an express reference to stepping up action to combat discrimination on any ground, including religion or belief. 

“Ireland has also spoken out at the UN Security Council to raise issues relating to freedom of religion or belief. In March 2021, Ireland shared its experience from the Northern Ireland peace process on the role which religious leaders played as mediators in conflict. Once again, Ireland condemned the use of religion or belief to create a hierarchy of humanity from which Christians and other religious communities can be subjected to violence and persecution.”

ENDS 15/03/2023