Bishop of St Albans asks about aid to Afghanistan

The Bishop of St Albans received the following written answer on 10th October 2022:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans asked His Majesty’s Government how much UK overseas aid they provided to Afghanistan in (1) 2017, (2) 2018, (3) 2019, (4) 2020, and (5) 2021.

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Bishop of Southwark asks about plans to relocate Afghan interpreters and security staff

The Bishop of Southwark received the following written answer on 21st July 2022:

The Lord Bishop of Southwark asked Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to relocate (1) interpreters, (2) security guards, and (3) other locally employed government staff, who are still in Afghanistan, back to the UK; and what is the timescale for that relocation.

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Bishop of Durham supports Refugee Family Reunion Bill

On 8th July 2022, the House of Lords debated the Refugees (Family Reunion) Bill in its second reading. The Bishop of Durham spoke in the debate on this Private Member’s Bill- his speech and contributions from other peers are below:

The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, I am pleased to speak today in support of this Bill. In doing so, I declare my interests as a member of the Refugee, Asylum and Migration Policy—RAMP—project and as a trustee of Reset.

The Bill proposes sensible provisions to consider the wider notion of family when enabling refugee families to come back together. Family reunification is often a neglected safe and legal route. The simple principle is that those who have been forced apart from family members due to persecution, war and other factors should be able to rebuild their lives with their loved ones when they have been granted protection as a refugee. In recent years, the largest safe route to the UK has been via family reunion, with 90% of those travelling this way being women and children.

It is on children that I would like to focus, namely the right of a child to reunite with their family, particularly their parents, when rebuilding a life here in the UK. Currently, we have the situation where we decide to layer more trauma on a child by expecting them to grow up separated from their parents and be placed in state care. Across Europe, the UK is simply an outlier in this regard.

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Bishop of St Albans asks about Afghan resettlement scheme numbers, housing and employment

The Bishop of St Albans received the following written answer on 6th July 2022:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans asked Her Majesty’s government:

  • how many Afghan citizens have arrived in the UK under the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme in each month since 1 January.
  • how many Afghan citizens who arrived under the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme since 1 January have been permitted to seek employment.
  • how many Afghan citizens who arrived under the Afghans Citizens Resettlement Scheme since 1 January are still in temporary accommodation.
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Bishop of St Albans supports call for UK to welcome Afghan interpreters

Bishop of St AlbansOn the 5th May, Lord Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon asked Her Majesty’s Government “what assessment they had made of the treatment of Afghan interpreters seeking to be housed in the United Kingdom.” The Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked whether the Government could do more to recognize the value Afghan interpreters have provided for British military efforts.

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, does the Minister not recognise that, with this story that is going on, not only do we owe them a debt of honour but what it is going to mean is that, when future conflict is going on, other people will think, “I dare not take the risk”? As well as being the right thing to do, this is actually in our own interests, because we need these people when we go into conflict to help us and co-operate with us. This is a long-term strategy. Could the Minister comment on that, please? Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans supports call for UK to welcome Afghan interpreters”

Bishop of Derby calls for generous support for interpreters working in conflict zones

On 18th March 2015 the Bishop of Derby, Rt Rev Alastair Redfern, spoke in a debate on the protection of interpreters and translators working in conflict zones. His speech is below, along with the final section of the Minister’s response.

DerbyThe Lord Bishop of Derby: I, too, thank the noble Baroness, Lady Coussins, for securing this debate and for introducing it so helpfully. It seems to me that interpreters are like priests; they are mediators and help connect cultures and communities. In this case, they helped campaigns unfold properly and as planned. It is a key role. As we have heard, especially from the noble Lord, Lord Ashdown, it is a very risky role, on the front line in every sense, and we must be thankful for the courage and commitment of those who sign up for it.

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