A leading Catholic member of the British House of Lords has called on more to be done to fight religious persecution in the world.

Lord David Alton noted on March 25 that around 80 percent of the world has a religious faith, and people of all faiths are persecuted.

Speaking to the House, he said 350 million Christians are being persecuted, “and 13 Christians are killed each and every day because of their faith.”

“I recently met representatives of the over 1 million workers employed like slave labour in brick kilns in Pakistan, who are overwhelmingly Christian. Often illiterate, they rarely earn enough to subsist, much less to clear the loans that they are forced to take out, becoming bonded labour,” Alton said.

“Debts have been passed down to children from one generation to another, and workers are abused at the whim of their owners, with Hindu and Christian women and girls particularly vulnerable,” he continued.

“Only last week, two Christian sanitary workers — Asif Masih, 25, and Shan Masih, 28 — lost their lives while undertaking the hazardous task of cleaning a choked sewage line, due to the absence of proper protective gear,” he said.

“It was not the first tragedy of its kind. On 14 February, the Minister told me that our aid to Pakistan for this year is £41.5 million [$52.5 million], rising to £133 million [$168 million] next year. How much of that will be used to promote the rights of religious minorities?” Alton asked.

Looking at China, he noted there are still no sanctions by the United Kingdom against Chinese state officials.

He spoke about the one million Uighur Muslims “subjected to genocide”, the “brutal oppression” of Tibetan Buddhists, the crimes against Falun Gong and the persecution of Christians.

“The latter includes the imprisonment of Protestant pastors, the demolition of churches, the jailing of the Christian journalist, Zhang Zhan, who went to Wuhan to ask awkward questions about the origins of COVID, and the trials in Hong Kong of Cardinal Zen and now of Jimmy Lai, a deeply committed Christian,” he said.

Speaking about Nigeria, Alton said 82 percent of all Christians killed for their faith last year were in African countries.

He said 4,998 Christians “were slaughtered,” with 200 murdered during Christmas services in 2023.

“Open Doors reports: ‘Christians in Nigeria continue to be terrorized with devastating impunity by Islamic militants,’ with ‘abductions for ransom, sexual violence and death … leaving a trail of grief and trauma’,” the British lord said.

Alton is a former Liberal Party – later Liberal Democrat – Member of Parliament who was appointed to the House of Lords in 1997.

He is a strong advocate for international human rights, and is the leading voice for religious freedom in the British House of Lords.