On 7th January 2020 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, spoke during the second day of debate on the Queen’s Speech, on the topic of the integrated security, defence and foreign policy review:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, I want to make a few comments on the integrated security, defence and foreign policy review, which is a welcome development in the Government’s plans for the next five years.
I note that the Government will consider the,
“freedom of speech, human rights and the rule of law”
of foreign nations and how this interacts with our own interests. I hope that the Minister will agree with these Benches that any such review should also include religious persecution, drawing on the work and recent report of the Foreign Office, assisted by the Bishop of Truro, on the persecution of Christians.
Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans raises religious persecution in Queen’s Speech debate”
On 25th July 2019 the Bishop of St Albans asked the Government “what steps they are taking to help those areas affected by the latest outbreak of Ebola which has been declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern by the World Health Organization”. He then asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, I thank the noble Baroness for her Answer and, indeed, for the money that has been made available. One of the most effective ways of rolling out preventative health education is to use local indigenous leadership. In 2015, Christian Aid and other charities recommended that NGOs should engage with local faith leaders for this purpose. Are Her Majesty’s Government following this advice? Secondly, with daily flights between DRC and Europe, given the highly infectious nature of this disease, will she explain to the House the steps that are being taken for our own domestic preparedness?
Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks Government about working with local faith communities to help Ebola victims”
On 16th July 2019 the Bishop of St Albans asked the Government “what action they are taking to assist local communities in the Democratic Republic of Congo to deliver health advice on the Ebola epidemic, which has now spread to the city of Goma”. The Bishop then asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: I thank the Minister for her response and for all that DfID and others are doing. If we are to prevent further spread of the disease, we need more grass-roots health education and disease prevention. My colleague, the Bishop of Hertford, is currently using his sabbatical to do just that, working through churches, local community leaders and faith groups, and his health educational material, translated into Swahili, is being delivered through the Anglican dioceses and by 800 Baptist pastors in every part of the DRC. Will the Minister explore how we can support this grass-roots work with indigenous leaders and communities, including the churches, and will she meet me to see how we can build on this initiative?
Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks Government about assistance with Ebola epidemic in Democratic Republic of Congo”
On 20th May 2019 a Government statement on the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, was repeated in the House of Lords. The Bishop of Winchester, Rt Revd Tim Dakin, asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of Winchester: My Lords, I thank the noble Baroness for repeating the Statement from the other place. My diocese is linked directly with the Congo and I have had a relationship with the current Bishop of North Kivu, Bishop Isesomo, for nearly 20 years.
I see the outbreak of Ebola as the presenting issue for what is a community breakdown. Over the past 25 years, particularly since the 1990s, we have seen a form of alternative governance which makes it very hard for any kind of intervention to work that does not tackle the question of security. Continue reading “Bishop of Winchester asks Government about security for health and aid workers responding to Ebola outbreak in DRC”
On 4th February 2015, Lord Collins of Highbury asked Her Majesty’s Government what recent progress they have made on tackling Ebola in West Africa. The Archbishop of Canterbuy, the Most Revd and Rt Hon Justin Welby, asked a supplementary question:
The Archbishop of Canterbury: My Lords, during a pastoral visit to Sierra Leone in mid-December, I heard affirmation of the extraordinary commitment of British forces and British work in that country. There was much expression of admiration and gratitude. There was also much concern about future outbreaks of Ebola. What thinking have the Government given to how future outbreaks might be prevented?
Baroness Northover: I am very pleased to see the most reverend Primate in his place—a number of us were extremely concerned when he came back from Sierra Leone and was not himself well, so it is great to see him here. He is absolutely right: the international community is focusing on trying to ensure that we do not find ourselves in this situation again. The WHO has looked at its own reform and other international bodies will too, but it is vital that we learn the lessons of this particular epidemic.