Girls Education

In response to a recent Global Partnership for Education campaign, David said:

"Investing in education is in all our interests, as education provides children with the best route out of poverty, giving them the power to improve their own lives and their country, and ultimately reduce developing countries' reliance on aid. Globally we must push for education for both girls and boys because evidence shows that when a girl in the developing world receives seven or more years of education, it has a strong positive impact - she marries later and has fewer and healthier children, and is more likely to be economically productive. But it is not just about having the chance to go to school, children must be well taught and what they learn must improve their opportunities in life.

Between 2011 and 2015, the Department for International Development supported over 11 million children, including 5.3 million girls, in primary and lower secondary education in developing countries. The Government has committed to helping at least another 11 million children in the poorest countries gain a decent education by 2020. DFID is on track to deliver this, having supported 7.1 million children to gain a decent education between 2015 and 2017. This is a huge investment in a better future for these children."

More information about the campaign can be found here.

Christian Persecution

In response to a campaign on Christian persecution, David said:

"I understand your concern for Christian communities around the world. Where freedom of religion or belief is under attack, other fundamental freedoms often face threat as well. The Government is motivated by deep concern for religious communities in the Middle East; and by a desire to stand shoulder to shoulder with all well-meaning parties. Ministers have stressed the importance of guaranteeing religious freedom when working with the Lebanese Government and the new Government in Iraq. Additionally, the Government is prioritising reaching the most vulnerable people across Syria, including Christians and those who have suffered from the ongoing violence, with its extensive aid programme."

More information about the campaign can be found here.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Kamal Foroughi

In response to the campaign on Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Kamal Foroughi David said:

"Ministers and officials continue to make representations on all consular cases involving British nationals in Iran, including Mr Foroughi’s and Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s, at all levels with the Iranian Government.

On 17 February the Foreign Secretary discussed Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s case with the Iranian Foreign Minister. However, the fact that Iran does not recognise dual nationality makes progress difficult. Most recently, the new Minister for the Middle East raised Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s case in a telephone call with the Iranian Foreign Minister on 21 June.

I share your concern for Mr Foroughi. It is vitally important that we continue to uphold the human rights of all the citizens in Iran with our international partners.

I hope that this goes some way to reassure you how seriously both I and my ministerial colleagues take this matter."

More information about the campaign can be found here.