Bishop of Southwark asks about the blockade of the Lachin corridor between Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh

The Bishop of Southwark received the following written answers on 26th January 2023:

The Lord Bishop of Southwark asked His Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the blockade of the Lachin corridor since 12 December 2022 on the humanitarian situation in Nagorno-Karabakh; and what humanitarian assistance they are providing in response.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Con): The UK Government has made clear that the closure of the Lachin corridor risks severe humanitarian consequences, particularly during winter. Officials have met with humanitarian agencies, including the ICRC, to discuss the situation. The START FUND, to which the UK is a significant donor, has allocated £350,000 to support those affected by the closure of the Lachin Corridor. UK officials remain in touch with humanitarian partners to monitor the situation. The Minister for Europe issued a statement highlighting the importance of re-opening the Lachin corridor on 13 December and our Ambassadors in the region and other senior UK officials have reinforced this message with key interlocutors. We also called for an early resolution to this issue in our interventions in Vienna at the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe on 15 December and in New York at the UN Security Council on 20 December.

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Bishop of Durham asks about government response to relations between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo

The Bishop of Durham received the following written answer on 24th January 2023:

The Lord Bishop of Durham asked His Majesty’s Government, following the President of the Republic of Rwanda’s annual end-of-year address, broadcast on 31 December 2022, what assessment they have made of (1) relations between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and (2) the ongoing conflict in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo; and what steps they intend to take in response to that speech.

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Bishop of Leeds asks about supply of tanks and armaments to Ukraine

The Bishop of Leeds asked a question on the donation of tanks and armaments to Ukraine on 19th January 2023, following an update on the ongoing conflict:

The Lord Bishop of Leeds: My Lords, I endorse all that has been said thus far in strong support of the Government on this. First, the Minister gave us some details of how some of the armaments being given to Ukraine are being replenished. Have the Government made any assessment of what the head of the UK Armed Forces said recently about the impact on UK defence of the donation of tanks? Secondly, it is clear that Olaf Scholz is putting the onus of responsibility on to the United States—that is, if it will send tanks, the Germans will agree to Leopard tanks being sent. Are the Government putting pressure on the United States to do that?

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Bishop of Durham asks about conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo

The Bishop of Durham received the following written answer on 8th December 2022:

The Lord Bishop of Durham asked His Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the conflict in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo and relations between that country and Rwanda; and what steps, if any, they are taking to de-escalate that conflict.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park (Con): The UK condemns the escalation in fighting in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The Foreign Secretary has raised our concerns with both the President of DRC and the Foreign Minister of Rwanda; The Minister for Africa also recently spoke to the Rwandan Foreign Minister. We welcome agreement on a ceasefire as agreed at the Luanda summit in Angola on 23 November. It is vital that all parties implement it to secure a real de-escalation on the ground in Eastern DRC. We call on all sides to do everything they can to ensure armed groups respect the terms of the ceasefire and engage with the regional political processes, in order that an enduring political solution can be found.

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Bishop of Coventry asks about conflict in Ethiopia and Tigray

The Bishop of Coventry received the following written answers on 1st November 2022:

The Lord Bishop of Coventry asked His Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the two-year conflict in Ethiopia on the (1) nutritional status, (2) mortality rates, and (3) educational standards, of children in Tigray.

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Bishop of Coventry asks about aid budget in relation to the conflict in Ukraine

The Bishop of Coventry asked a question regarding responses to the annexation of Ukrainian territories by Russia during a debate on the ongoing conflict in Ukraine on 12th October 2022:

The Lord Bishop of Coventry: My Lords, I look forward to the forthcoming public vote at the United Nations General Assembly condemning Russian annexation of the four Ukrainian territories and, I understand, calling for a negotiated settlement. That will pass easily but, despite these recent indiscriminate attacks, as the Secretary-General described them, it looks likely that there will be a large number of abstentions from the majority of the developing world. Can the Minister say why so many countries remain non-aligned and what steps are being taken to address their concerns? In that context, would she accept that, with so many developing countries feeling the impact of the war, the Government should not look to balance their own books by cutting the aid budget further?

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Bishop of Southwark asks about government response to raids by Israeli Defence Forces on a church and civil societies in Ramallah

The Bishop of Southwark received the following written answer on 11th October 2022:

The Lord Bishop of Southwark asked Her Majesty’s Government:

  • what representations they have made to the government of Israel regarding a raid by the Israeli Defence Forces on St Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Ramallah on 18 August; and whether they have asked them to undertake an investigation into that incident.
  •  what representations they have made to the government of Israel regarding a raid by the Israeli Defence Forces on the offices of seven Palestinian civil society organisations in Ramallah on 18 August.
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Bishop of Coventry asks about Armenia, Azerbaijan, and the Transcaucasus region

The Bishop of Coventry received the following written answers on 10th October 2022:

The Lord Bishop of Coventry asked His Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the clashes along the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan which began on 12 September; and what representations they have made to the governments of those countries in relation to (1) the exercise of restraint, and (2) the observation of agreements which ended the 2020 Nagorno–Karabakh war.

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Bishop of St Albans speaks in a debate on the blockade of Ukrainian ports

On 21st July 2022 the House of Lords debated the impact of the blockade of Ukrainian ports on food insecurity in developing countries. The Bishop of St Albans spoke in the debate:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, I pay tribute to the noble Lord, Lord Alton, for his brilliant introduction to this debate. I also welcome my colleague, the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham, and congratulate him on his maiden speech. I know he has huge experience to offer to this House and will be drawing not least on the huge successes and, indeed, some of the challenges of the east Midlands, where he is based. We look forward to hearing much more from him.

Next Tuesday we will start the next Lambeth Conference. Hundreds of bishops are gathering from all round the world. They are flying into this country as we speak, including many bishops from the whole of Africa and parts of Asia, and we are going to be meeting many of these people who, in their dioceses, are facing the famine that is now ahead of us. We hope that will be an opportunity to get first-hand reports of what the challenges are and how we might be able to try to respond, to alleviate some of the terrible suffering facing our world and particularly the Horn of Africa.

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Bishop of St Albans asks about investigating allegations of war crimes in Ukraine

The Bishop of St Albans asked a question regarding Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on 4th April 2022:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to work with international partners to investigate allegations of war crimes following the massacre in Bucha, Ukraine, by Russian Armed Forces.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Con): My Lords, we were all horrified, as we are now, by seeing evidence of appalling acts by Russian forces in the Ukrainian city of Bucha. Russia’s alleged indiscriminate attacks against civilians during this illegal invasion must be investigated as war crimes. We will fully support any investigations by the International Criminal Court, and we will not rest until those responsible for these atrocities have faced justice. The international community must continue to provide Ukraine with humanitarian and military support while stepping up sanctions to cut off funding for Mr Putin’s war machine.

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