On July 7th 2014, the Bishop of Worcester, the Rt Revd John Inge, received an answer to a written question on South Sudan.
The Lord Bishop of Worcester: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the prevalence of sexual violence in the conflict in South Sudan; whether they are planning to deploy suitable experts from the Stabilisation Unit to strengthen and support efforts in South Sudan to respond; and, if so, when.
The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi) (Con): We are deeply concerned by reports of human rights violations and abuses in South Sudan, including the widespread use of sexual violence. We fully support the work of the Africa Union Commission of Inquiry and echo the call in the recent UN Human Rights Council resolution for thorough and genuine investigations into all human rights violations and abuses and for the perpetrators to be brought to justice.
The UK is funding a project with non-governmental organisation Non Violent Peaceforce to establish women’s protection teams in Northern Bahr El Ghazal. This project aims to tackle sexual violence in communities affected by insecurity around the border with Sudan by establishing and training women’s peacekeeping teams to work within communities. We continue to raise the issue of human rights, and of sexual violence specifically, with South Sudanese Ministers. The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my hon. Friend the Member for Boston and Skegness (Mr Simmonds), discussed the issue with the Foreign Minister of South Sudan at the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict on 11 June. Our Ambassador also raises these issues regularly with the Government of South Sudan.
There are currently no plans to send additional experts from the Stabilisation Unit to South Sudan. However, we keep all such plans under constant review.
“In general, the question of whether or to what extent a particular type of economic activity is a legitimate driver of economic growth is a moral one that should not just be subsumed under a catch-all principle that regulators should promote economic growth. The prevention of damaging or unjust economic activity, surely, is equally germane to their mission.” – The Bishop of Truro, 07/07/14
On 7th July 2014, the Bishop of Truro, the Rt Revd Tim Thornton, took part in the Second Reading debate on the Government’s Deregulation Bill, led by Lord Wallace of Saltaire. In his speech he welcomed many of the measures, but raised concerns about two areas covered by the Bill – the work of employment tribunals and provisions that would require regulators to have regard for promoting economic growth.
The Lord Bishop of Truro: My Lords, I think that I need to begin with an apology. I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Stevenson, for drawing our attention to matters relating to dog collars. I was not going to refer to them but I will make sure that one of my colleagues does when we get to Committee.
I have no more interest than any other Member of this House in regulation for its own sake. In fact the New Testament, on the principle that,
“where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom”,
Welcome to the Church of England’s weekly round-up of activity in Parliament by the Lords Spiritual and the Second Church Estates Commissioner.
In the past week, Bishops in the House of Lords have spoken in debates on the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill and the rural economy.
They have also put questions to the Government on busking, the needs of dyslexics in higher education, National Voter Registration Day 2015, violence in the Middle East, sexual violence in Syria, protection of civilians in South Sudan, and the appointment of the next Bishop of Guildford.
“I very much hope that the Department for Education will not resort to a philosophy of “the weakest to the wall” with these small schools because small rural schools are so often worth their weight in gold, as the heart and hub of our rural communities. The Church of England will publish a report very soon on how to support our rural schools effectively” – Bishop of Oxford, 3/7/14.
On 3rd July, the Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Revd John Pritchard, took part in a debate on the rural economy, lead by the Earl of Shrewsbury. The Bishop spoke about the need for intentional support for the many micro-businesses that make up the rural economy, and also for greater personal investment in rural schools, particularly through an increase in the number of foundation govenors supporting rural schools.
The Lord Bishop of Oxford: My Lords, I, too, am grateful to the noble Earl, Lord Shrewsbury, for giving us this opportunity to debate this matter. We all approach this important subject from different angles. I want to emphasise one that is economic and the other that is personal in the sense of our own personal investment and commitment. I serve a diocese which is largely rural although it has large centres of population such as Oxford, Reading, Milton Keynes and Slough. However, the rural expanses of Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Berkshire are considerable, with 815 churches and 650 clergy, all of whom are strongly connected to the all-round flourishing of our diverse communities. Continue reading “Bishop of Oxford calls for more intentional support for the rural economy and rural schools”
On 3rd July 2014, the Conservative Peer Lord Trefgarne asked Her Majesty’s Government whether the Prime Minister is yet in a position to make a recommendation to Her Majesty the Queen in respect of a new Bishop for Guildford. The Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Revd John Pritchard, asked a supplementary question.
On 2nd July 2014, the Bishop of Worcester, the Rt Revd John Inge, received answers to three written questions on South Sudan.
The Lord Bishop of Worcester: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what support they are offering members of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development to stop small arms entering South Sudan.
The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi) (Con): The members of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) have played an important role in the mediation efforts and have consistently called for both parties to respect the cessation of hostilities to solve the ongoing crisis in South Sudan and commit fully to the mediation process. Although South Sudan is not subject to an UN Arms Embargo, we have been clear that the actions of its neighbours should not in any way exacerbate the conflict. South Sudan has been subject to an EU Arms Embargo since its independence. Continue reading “Bishop of Worcester asks about protection of civilians in South Sudan (Written Questions)”
On 2nd July 2014, Conservative Peer Baroness Jenkin of Kennington asked Her Majesty’s Government for their assessment of the alleged sexual violence crimes committed against Syrian civilians in Syria.The Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Revd John Pritchard, asked a supplementary question.
The Lord Bishop of Oxford: My Lords, given that discussion of sexual violence is always a very sensitive subject in any culture, will the Minister give assurance that the Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative team that is working in Syria will draw in responsible, enlightened religious leaders to combat the stigma that is so often associated with these awful crimes? This can prevent the kind of recriminations and rejection by communities and families that can result from them.
Baroness Warsi: The right reverend Prelate makes an incredibly important point. Faith as part of the solution to dealing with sexual violence was an important element of the summit, and we hosted two very successful fringe events. One involved a coalition mainly of church leaders, called We Will Speak Out. The other was at ministerial level where we hosted Sheikh Bin Bayyah, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, and discussed the way in which we can get faith communities to be the first point of support in both providing protection and changing the culture that perpetuates the culture of impunity.