On 24th May 2023, the Archbishop of Canterbury asked a question he had tabled on what the government are doing to assist the government of South Sudan to support refugees from the current conflict in Sudan:
The Lord Archbishop of Canterbury: To ask His Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to assist the government of South Sudan to support refugees from the conflict in Sudan.
The Bishop of Durham asked a question on support for churches in Sudan and their parishioners on 26th April 2023, following outbreaks of violence in the country:
The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, the Minister may be aware that two dioceses in this country, Salisbury and Leeds, have strong links with Sudan and South Sudan. The right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Leeds has regular contact, particularly with the Primate in Sudan. The people in those two dioceses absolutely understand the total focus on bringing British citizens out but they are also concerned for the Sudanese on the ground, particularly those in the churches; the Church there is quite fragile and relies quite a lot on the support that comes from western diplomats, and so forth. They are asking what they can do to support their Sudanese friends in churches and in other communities who are not going to be rescued. There may not be an immediate answer, but perhaps the Minister would consider what advice might be given to people who want to support the Sudanese in the coming weeks and months.
On 19th April 2023,The Bishop of Leeds asked a question on the possibility of utilising connections in the religious community to aid in diplomatic channels in Sudan, following outbreaks of violence in Sudan and the city of Khartoum:
The Lord Bishop of Leeds: My Lords, the question of threats is one that I am slightly bemused about. I want to pay tribute to the work of UK diplomats in Sudan. I have been going there since 2011; my diocese has a link with the whole of Sudan going back over 40 years and I am in daily contact with the Archbishop of Sudan. In his cathedral the other day, he managed to get all the families—42 of them including children—secured in an internal building. They then had to watch their homes and elements of the cathedral being shot up, all their vehicles destroyed, offices ransacked and so on.
The Bishop of Leeds asked a question on the effect ongoing issues with Russia might have on conflict resolution in Armenia and Azerbaijan, during a debate on the aftermath of the Khojaly massacare and the situation in the latter two countries on 17th March 2023:
The Lord Bishop of Leeds: My Lords, I thank the Minister for that answer. I wonder if I can tempt him to comment on the role of Russia in the current situation. Do the wider problems with Russia make it more or less likely that a solution might be found in Azerbaijan and Armenia?
On 9th February 2023, the House of Lords debated a motion to take note of the current situation in Ukraine, following Ukrainian president Zelensky’s vist to the UK. The Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham spoke in the debate, urging that efforts remain focused on supporting Ukrainians in the UK and supporting Ukraine’s own defence, while pressing for clarity on the government’s expectations of the future of the conflict:
The Lord Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham: My Lords, like others in this House I thank the noble Baroness, Lady Goldie, for tabling this debate. I wish to convey the apologies of my most reverend friend the Archbishop of Canterbury, who, having recently travelled to Kyiv, wished to take part in this debate but is detained by the business of the General Synod. He will follow the deliberations closely in Hansard. My most reverend friend and several others from these Benches took time away from the General Synod yesterday and were delighted to join Members of both Houses to hear the President of Ukraine address us.
I count it a privilege and not a little daunting to precede the maiden speech of the noble Lord, Lord Soames, whose insight and wisdom on the matters before us are truly formidable. On behalf of the Lords Spiritual, I look forward to listening to and learning from his contributions to the work of the House in the coming days.
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.
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.
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?
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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