On 26th of November 2013, the Bishop of Wakefield, the Rt Revd Stephen Platten, asked Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of Tanzania regarding allegations of human rights violations at the North Mara Mine.
The Lord Bishop of Wakefield: My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question standing in my name on the Order Paper. In doing so, I declare an interest as the joint leader of the Wakefield-Tanzania Diocesan Link.
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Con): My Lords, the UK’s high commissioner to Tanzania visited the North Mara mine in March 2013 to raise concerns directly about the alleged human rights violations with African Barrick Gold, the mine owner, and also discussed a range of issues with the local authorities. We are, of course, working closely with the Tanzanian Government on improving respect for human rights and also encouraging them to sign up to the voluntary principles on security and human rights in the extractive sector. Continue reading “Bishop of Wakefield raises concerns about human rights abuses in Tanzanian mine”
On 25th November 2013, the Labour Peer Baroness Gould of Potternewton asked Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to prevent rape and violence against women and girls. The Bishop of Wakefield, the Rt Revd Stephen Platten, asked a supplementary question.
The Lord Bishop of Wakefield: My Lords, following a debate that I was able to secure on a related issue back in March, more than 60 bishops around the country are today supporting the campaign to end gender-based violence, and are visiting on this day a large number of projects up and down the country to support the cause. I apologise that, in the rush to get here, I have no white ribbon. Could the Minister inform the House what additional action the Government are taking to implement the agreed conclusion from this year’s UN Commission on the Status of Women, which focused on the ending of violence against women?
Lord Taylor of Holbeach: I congratulate my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary on his role in ensuring that 135 countries have signed up to the agreement on the use of rape as a weapon of war. This is a significant development, and shows that these arguments are not just confined to this country. Discussions that we are having here have raised awareness throughout the world.
On 21st November 2013, Liberal Democrat Peer Baroness Benjamin asked Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to record whether or not an individual remanded in custody, or sentenced to prison, has any children. The Bishop of Birmingham, the Rt Revd David Urquhart asked a supplementary question.
The Lord Bishop of Birmingham: My Lords, perhaps I may press the Minister a little further. When a court is aware of a child whose parent is imprisoned and that child is in a vulnerable state, will he ensure that the court refers the child to the proper care of the local authority or a charity in the region where that child is living?
Lord McNally: I go back to what I would expect to be common sense in these areas. Courts already have a duty, in every case, to take account of any mitigating factors, including that the offender has primary care responsibilities for children or other dependants. However, it is important that the presence of such dependants is brought to the attention of the court. Again, I can only emphasise that the direction of travel we are going in is to try to make sure that the prison and court authorities are aware of their responsibilities and that they link up with the supporting organisations needed in these cases.
On 21st November 2013, the Bishop of Leicester, the Rt Revd Timothy Stevens, led a take-note debate in the House of Lords on the July 2013 report by ResPublica, Holistic Missions: Social Action and the Church of England. The Bishop of Carlisle, the Rt Revd James Newcome also spoke in the debate. The Bishop of Leicester spoke of an opportunity for the church to play an increasingly important role in the social fabric of the UK, through formal and informal networks, and offered various ways by which this role could be enhanced. The Bishop of Carlisle, making his maiden speech, particularly speaking of his role as lead Bishop for Healthcare and the important role played by the Church of England in areas of holistic health and social care.
The Lord Bishop of Leicester: My Lords, the Church of England is on the verge of extinction, or so you would believe if you accept this week’s tabloid headlines. The report of the think tank ResPublica, entitled Holistic Missions: Social Action and the Church of England, presents us with a different picture. It presents a picture of a church which is present in every community, town, village and city and embedded in its localities. It is a church which baptises, marries and buries a significant proportion of the population, educates some 1 million children in church schools and serves the poor, the homeless, the lonely, the hungry and the distressed in often unnoticed but crucial ways. Continue reading “Bishops of Leicester and Carlisle speak in debate about the ResPublica Report, Holistic Missions: Social Action and the Church of England”
In Church Commissioners Question Time on Thursday 21st November 2013, Sir Tony Baldry MP was asked by MPs to answer questions on women bishops, the recruitment of clergy, credit unions and metal crime.
Andrew Stephenson (Pendle) (Con): What progress has been made by the General Synod of the Church of England on legislating to enable women to enter the episcopate.
The Second Church Estates Commissioner (Sir Tony Baldry): Yesterday, the General Synod voted by 378 votes to eight, with 25 abstentions, to approve a new package of proposals that will enable women to become bishops in the Church of England.
Andrew Stephenson: This is obviously very welcome news. Can my hon. Friend give us an idea of the likely time scale for the introduction of the change?
Sir Tony Baldry: My hon. Friend is right; this is very welcome news. As a result of the vote yesterday, I am confident that this House will have an opportunity to pass the necessary legislation in the lifetime of this Parliament.
Continue reading “MPs Questions to Church Commissioners”
On 21st November 2013, the Bishop of Derby, the Rt Revd Alastair Redfern, and the Bishop of Wakefield, the Rt Revd Stephen Platten, took part in a debate on human rights, led by Lord Alton of Liverpool. The Bishop of Derby spoke about the role of women within society and religious institutions. He particularly focused on the objectification of women in magazines and the treatment of women in India. The Bishop of Wakefield spoke of the need for a greater engagement on the subject of the right to the freedom of religion, calling on the Government to develop a more positive approach towards religious freedom.
The Lord Bishop of Derby: My Lords, I, too, congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Alton, on securing this debate, and I also associate myself with the remarks of the noble Lord, Lord Selkirk.
Many of the pictures painted are dramatic and challenging, and I invite the House to think a little about the context that we are in and how we might approach some of these huge issues. The Government have identified six key priority areas, including women and freedom of religion, and those are the two things that I will look at in particular. We are in a world where we have ideals and fall short of them, and need to negotiate between the two. Continue reading “Bishops of Derby and Wakefield take part in debate about Human Rights”