Ann Widdecombe to be special envoy on religious freedom

Ann Widdecombe

Ann Widdecombe

Ann Widdecombe is to be Aid to the Church in Need’s special envoy on religious freedom.

The former Tory government minister will advise the charity on its work for persecuted and other suffering Christians, drawing on her wide media and political experience.

The post has a global remit and Miss Widdecombe may travel to trouble spots where Christians are persecuted.

Engaged in regular meetings with Aid to the Church in Need staff, she will raise awareness of the issues surrounding violence and intimidation of religious minorities including Christians.

The announcement coincides with the launch of the 2011 edition of Aid to the Church in Need's Persecuted and Forgotten? – A Report on Christians oppressed for their Faith.

The report provides an audit of human rights abuses against Christians, declaring that persecution against them has worsened in two-thirds of the countries where religious freedom is denied the most.

According to reports, at least 75 percent of religious persecution is directed against Christians.

In a statement, Miss Widdecombe said: "I have become increasingly alarmed by reports of violence and acts of intimidation against Christians.

"We in this country are rightly concerned to protect the rights of minorities over here. We cannot therefore turn a blind eye to the plight of minorities in other parts of the world. In many cases, those suffering most are Christians.

"It is time to put our heads above the parapet and speak up in the name of Christians suffering for their faith and I am delighted to support the work of Aid to the Church in Need which is doing excellent work to help persecuted Christians."

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