Bishop of Coventry asks Government about repatriation of Rohingya people

On 31st January 2018 the Bishop of Coventry, Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, received a written answer from Government about the Rohingya people in Burma: 

The Lord Bishop of Coventry:To ask Her Majesty’s Government what discussions they have had with the governments of (1) China, (2) Laos, (3) the Philippines, (4) Russia, and (5) Vietnam, regarding the announcement on 16 January that Bangladesh and Myanmar have agreed to repatriate Rohingya people; and what was the outcome of those discussions. Continue reading “Bishop of Coventry asks Government about repatriation of Rohingya people”

Bishop of Coventry leads debate on the rights of religious and ethnic minorities in post-conflict Iraq

On 1th January 2017 the Bishop of Coventry, Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, led a debate in the House of Lords on the question: “to ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their post-conflict strategy for protecting the rights of religious and ethnic minorities in Iraq.” His speech is reproduced in full below, as is that of the Government minister responding. All speeches by those taking part in the debate can be read here.

The Lord Bishop of Coventry: My Lords, imagine what it was like, having been hounded out of one’s home when Daesh took control of Mosul, to be back there on Christmas Eve among 2,000 worshippers for the first celebration of the Mass in three and a half years. But then imagine the scene only hours afterwards— ​not only the church but also the city again almost entirely bereft of Christians because it is still not safe enough for them to return permanently.

What can be done to give Christians, Yazidis, Turkmen, Sabeans, Yarsanis, Shabaks and other vulnerable religious and ethnic communities in Iraq confidence that they have a future in their own land—and why is it vital for that land and that region that their confidence is regained? Continue reading “Bishop of Coventry leads debate on the rights of religious and ethnic minorities in post-conflict Iraq”

Bishops show support for Refugees (Family Reunion) Bill

The following letter, in support of Baroness Hamwee’s Refugees (Family Reunion) Bill signed by eight bishops, seven of whom are Lords Spiritual, appeared in The Times newspaper on 15th December 2017.

REFUGEE REFORM BILL

Sir, Britain is one of the few countries in Europe that does not allow refugee children who arrive alone in the UK to bring a parent here. This is the most glaring example of overly restrictive rules that deny many refugees the chance to live with their family. Today Baroness Hamwee will sponsor the Refugee Families Reunion Bill in the House of Lords, which would allow a wider range of family members to be reunited with refugees living in the UK. Continue reading “Bishops show support for Refugees (Family Reunion) Bill”

Bishop of Coventry asks about China – human rights and freedom of religion or belief

On 7th December 2017 the Bishop of Coventry, Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, received written answers to four questions on human rights and freedom of religion or belief in China:

The Lord Bishop of Coventry:

(i) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the revisions to the regulations on religious affairs in China, and of their potential impact on freedom of religion or belief in that country.

(ii) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of China about the disappearance and current situation of Chinese lawyer Gao Zhiseng, who went missing in August.

(iii) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of China concerning restrictions on freedom of religion or belief for Tibetan Buddhists in China, including the detention of religious leaders and the demolition of places of worship.

(iv)  To ask Her Majesty’s Government what information they hold about the demolition of religious sites and buildings in China, including Tibetan Buddhist institutions and Christian churches in the past two years. Continue reading “Bishop of Coventry asks about China – human rights and freedom of religion or belief”

Bishop of Coventry asks Government about funding for debt advice services

On 22nd November 2017 the House of Lords heard the repeat of a statement made by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on Universal Credit. The Bishop of Coventry, Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, responded to the statement:

The Lord Bishop of Coventry: My Lords, I share with the Minister and the House a bit of local information. We find ourselves in an interesting situation in Coventry, with rising employment and yet a 30% increase in usage among those in the city—mostly single males—among whom universal credit has been rolled out. Like others, I very much welcome the changes and I am sure they will help enormously but, at the same time, I still have reservations about whether they have gone far enough and address other issues that some of us on the ground have identified. Continue reading “Bishop of Coventry asks Government about funding for debt advice services”

Bishop of Coventry: Britain has moral responsibility for long-term reconstruction, if involved in conflict

On 23rd November 2017 the House of Lords debated a motion from Lord Soley, “That this House takes note of the case for maintaining United Kingdom defence forces at a sufficient level to contribute to global peace, stability and security.” The Bishop of Coventry, Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, spoke in the debate:

The Lord Bishop of Coventry: My Lords, I join others in commending the noble Lord, Lord Soley, for securing this debate and for framing it in this way. He made it clear that UK defence forces exist not only for the protection and promotion of immediate British interests but to contribute to global peace, stability and security. The scale of that task has obvious implications for the size of the defence budget and its distribution. Continue reading “Bishop of Coventry: Britain has moral responsibility for long-term reconstruction, if involved in conflict”

Bishop of Coventry asks about role of schools in helping disadvantaged families

On 22nd November 2017 Lord Lennie asked Her Majesty’s Government “what action they have taken to address the concerns raised in the Social Mobility Commission’s State of the Nation report published in November 2016.” The Bishop of Coventry, Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, asked a follow up question:

The Lord Bishop of Coventry: My Lords, on my visits to primary schools in Coventry in Warwickshire, I am often struck by head teachers in poorer areas telling me that they cannot help their children without also helping the families, who often face very complex issues. The Minister referred to the opportunity areas. Can he confirm that there is a plan to involve parents and guardians in that work of uplift and that there will be help for head teachers in that task? Continue reading “Bishop of Coventry asks about role of schools in helping disadvantaged families”