The UK is urging international cooperation to tackle persecution on the grounds of religion or belief.
The International Ambassador for Human Rights, Rita French, told the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) that freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) was a “key UK human rights priority”.
UNHRC heard concerns during a two-day dialogue on religious freedom held on Monday and Tuesday.
In a statement, Ms French said that over the past nine months, the UK had been working to implement the recommendations of the Bishop of Truro’s review into persecution, published last summer.
The review, commissioned by then Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, found that levels of persecution against Christians were reaching genocidal levels and called on the UK Government to take a number of steps to uphold FoRB for all faiths.
These included initiating a UN Security Council resolution calling on North African and Middle Eastern countries to protect Christians and other persecuted minorities, and imposing sanctions on the worst offenders.
“We remain deeply concerned about global levels of intolerance, discrimination, and persecution of, and violence against, people because of their religion or belief, or for not having a faith,” said Ms French.
“The UK has stepped up its focus on this issue over the last few years and it is a key UK human rights priority.”
She added: “Freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief must be defended, and we believe that working together is the best way to achieve real, positive impact in guaranteeing the rights of all faith or belief communities around the world.”