On 4th December 2013, the Bishop of Coventry received an answer to a written question on Syria.
The Lord Bishop of Coventry: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of Amnesty International’s report of 31 October on Growing Restrictions, Tough Conditions: The plight of those fleeing Syria to Jordan.
Baroness Northover: The Government is committed to ensuring those affected by the crisis in Syria can get assistance wherever they seek refuge. We are providing multi-year financial and technical support to neighbouring countries, and for them to keep borders open. To date the UK has allocated £105.1 million to Jordan to support refugees and host communities. DFID also recently announced £12 million of development funding over the next two years to help local Jordanian municipal governments maintain and improve public services. Neighbouring countries have been extremely generous in hosting Syrian refugees, and we urge them to continue to show that generosity by welcoming those seeking safety keep their borders open.
On 31st October 2013, the Bishop of Coventry, the Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, received an answer to a written question on Israel.
The Lord Bishop of Coventry: To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Warsi on 10 October (WA 47), and in the light of the first progress report from UNICEF (14 October 2013) on the treatment of children in Israeli military detention, what representations have they made to the Government of Israel about the conformity of such practice with international standards.
The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): Ministers at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and our Ambassador to Tel Aviv, have spoken and written to both the Israeli Justice Minister and the Israeli Attorney General to make representations on the treatment of Palestinian child detainees and the need for Israel to abide by its obligations under international law. Most recently, our ambassador in Tel Aviv wrote again to the Israeli Justice Minister, Tzipi Livni, on 14 October and Embassy officials discussed the issue with the Israeli Ministry of Justice on 16 September.
I can assure the Most Reverend and Noble Lord Bishop that we will continue to press for further progress on this important subject.
“Even with a political solution, the scars of this conflict will take many generations to heal. It will require the continued generosity of the international community in a sustained and strategic humanitarian commitment. I hope that Her Majesty’s Government will continue to take a courageous lead and make this not the last business of a long day but the priority of every morning until the holy land of Syria is healed.”
On 30th October 2013, the Bishop of Coventry, the Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, led a short debate in the House of Lords, to ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to address the humanitarian crisis caused by the ongoing conflict in Syria. In his opening speech, the Bishop commended the Government for its response to the humanitarian crisis in Syria, but called for all pledged humanitarian assistance to be supplied as quickly as possible. He called on the Goverment to look into the resettling of Syrian refugees and noted the negative impact that the humanitarian crisis was having on the broader region.
The Lord Bishop of Coventry: My Lords, despite the admirable diplomatic activity of recent weeks, the humanitarian costs of the ongoing conflict in Syria show no sign of abatement. As violence expands exponentially and cruelty abounds, no one can fail to be moved by the scale of the crisis, which is nothing short of a catastrophe.
This debate seeks neither to underestimate the efforts of Her Majesty’s Government to rise to the challenge of humanitarian support, nor to question their resolve to work towards a political resolution of the civil war. Rather, I hope that it will give an opportunity for your Lordships’ House to focus its expert attention on the humanitarian costs of the conflict and the humanitarian imperative of bringing the conflict to an end, and, in so doing, of checking that every stone is being turned in the cause of compassion and the pursuit of peace. Continue reading “Bishop of Coventry leads debate on humanitarian crisis in Syria”
On 14th October 2013, the Bishop of Coventry received answers to two written questions on humanitarian assistance in Syria.
The Lord Bishop of Coventry: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they intend to take following the G20 Summit in St Petersburg to ensure unimpeded access for humanitarian workers inside Syria, including safe routes for aid convoys and the lifting of any bureaucratic hurdles imposed by the Assad regime.
Baroness Northover: It is vital that aid reaches those who have been affected by the Syria crisis. Since the G20 summit, the UK has successfully pushed the Security Council to capitalise on its strong chemical weapons resolution by applying its weight and authority to securing unfettered and immediate humanitarian access. On 2 October, the UN Security Council unanimously agreed a Presidential Statement setting out measures to facilitate access for humanitarian relief to all parts of Syria. The Minister of State for International Development, the right honourable Alan Duncan MP, met Baroness Amos of the United Nations Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs on 9 October to discuss these urgent matters.
On 10th October 2014, the Bishop of Coventry, the Rt Revd Christopher Cox, received answers to two written questions, on the subjects of Camp Ashraf and the detention of children in Israel and Palestine.
Iraq: Camp Ashraf
The Lord Bishop of Coventry: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what response they have received from the government of Iraq to their representation requesting an investigation into the violence at Camp Ashraf on 1 September.
The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): The Government of Iraq has told our Embassy in Baghdad that a committee will conduct a full and open investigation into the attack on Camp Ashraf on 1 September, and that its findings will be made public.
On 4th June 2013, nine bishops took part in a division during the Second Reading debate of the Government’s Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill.
Crossbench Peer Lord Dear moved, as an amendment to the motion that the bill be now read a second time, to leave out from “that” to the end and insert “this House declines to give the bill a second reading”.
Nine bishops voted “content” with Lord Dear’s amendment. They were: the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the Bishops of Birmingham, Bristol, Chester, Coventry, Exeter, Hereford, London and Winchester. A further five bishops attended but abstained from the vote. No bishops voted “not content.”
There were: Contents: 148 | Not Contents: 390 | Result: Government Win