Double Standards in UK Foreign Aid: Indifference to Rights of Christians

Country: United Kingdom

Date of incident: October 20, 2011

The former Conservative minister Ann Widdecombe pointed out the UK government's double standards in its threats to cut aid to countries which persecute gay people while turning a blind eye to persecution against Christians.

Miss Widdecombe said at the annual conference of the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN): “David Cameron’s government have threatened to cut the overseas aid budget for countries which persecute homosexuals. Fair enough. But what about Christians? When do we qualify for such protection or don’t we?” The Catholic Herald reports:
"In Pakistan, where British aid is on course to double to £350 million per year, Christian labourer Asia Bibi is on death row for blasphemy in a case that has attracted international outrage. Meanwhile, International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell has cut Britain’s aid to Malawi after two gay men were sentenced to 14 years hard labour. According to newspaper reports, the Government has threatened to cut aid to other poor African countries accused of persecuting gays."

Miss Widdecombe sees this as the government's indifference to the rights of Christians: “You stand a better chance of earnest representation if you are a hedgehog – and I speak as a patron of the Hedgehog Protection Society. In the last 10 years, how many debates have there been on persecution of Christians, how many Government statements on the subject?”