On 5th November 2019 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, received a written answer from the Government, in reply to his question about the Rohingya people:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: HL531 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the quality of the Rohingya people’s lives in Bangladesh.
Baroness Sugg: A June 2019 study by the Overseas Development Institute found that refugees felt that their lives would first and foremost be improved through education, then better living conditions, then the ability to support themselves. The study also describes the Rohingya people’s immediate concerns affecting their quality of life, including shelter conditions, lack of firewood or stoves, issues with healthcare, water, sanitation and hygiene and protection support, inadequate food and insufficient supplies.
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On 4th November 2019 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, received written answers from the Government, in reply to two questions about persecuted people in Myanmar:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: (i) HL530 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of whether the Rohingya people’s civil and human rights are being upheld in Myanmar.
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: (ii) HL532 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of reports of attacks against Chin people in Myanmar.
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On 30th October 2019 the Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, asked a question about the situation in Yemen, on behalf of the Bishop of St Albans, who was unable to attend:
Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the deal brokered by the government of Saudi Arabia in Yemen and the prospects for lasting peace there.
Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question standing in the name of the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of St Albans, who apologises for the fact that he cannot be in his place today.
The Earl of Courtown (Con): My Lords, the UK welcomes signs of progress through the Saudi-led talks to bring together the Government of Yemen and the Southern Transitional Council to reach a peaceful settlement following the clashes in Aden in August. This has further demonstrated the need for inclusive political talks through the UN-led peace process. The UK urges all parties to engage constructively with the UN special envoy Martin Griffiths to broker a sustainable peace for all of Yemen.
Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, I thank the Minister for his response and I share his support for any initiative that brings peace to Yemen, but this deal brokered by the KSA brings only limited opportunities for a peaceful future in the region. After four years and seven months, almost 100,000 people have died—84,000 children from starvation, and 2,500 from cholera. What pressure are Her Majesty’s Government putting on Saudi and Emirati opposites to secure an immediate cessation to the wider war in Yemen?
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On the 24th October 2019 Lord Alton hosted a debate in the House of Lords about the current political situation in Hong Kong. The Bishop of Salisbury, the Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam spoke in the debate about the church in Hong Kong, the importance of identity and the need to stand alongside those to whom we have not just a historic but a present commitment, to encourage the keeping of treaties and international law, and the finding of a peaceful resolution to the present conflicts.
Lord Ahmad responded for the Government and extracts of his remarks and a link to the whole debate can be found below.
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On 21st October 2019 the Bishop of Coventry, Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, received two written answers from the Government regarding Kashmir:
The Lord Bishop of Coventry:
(i) HL25 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the decision of the government of India, on 5 August, to revoke Article 370 of the Constitution of India, and what representations they have made to the government of India about that decision.
(ii) HL26 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to seek a peaceful resolution of the dispute between India and Pakistan, following the decision of the government of India on 5 August to revoke Article 370 of the Constitution of India.
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On 3rd September 2019 the Leader of the Lords, Baroness Evans of Bowes Park, repeated a Government Statement about the G7 summit in Biarritz. The Bishop of Durham asked a follow-up question about girls’ education in Burundi:
Lord Bishop of Durham: I return to the question of girls’ education in the Statement. As it happens, last week I was visiting the tiny east African country of Burundi, and one of the most impressive pieces of work that I saw there was with adult women who had not had education when they were girls and who have now gone through literacy and financial and business training and were running small businesses in their local rural communities. I welcome the fact that more money is being put into the education of girls and of children in countries torn by conflict, because Burundi is one such. Will the Minister explain a little more about how that might be put into practice, particularly in a nation such as Burundi—and there are others—where at the moment there are restrictions on the Foreign Office giving it money because of its internal conflict, and will she promise that DfID will be able to put money into such countries through this kind of system?
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On 9th August 2019 the Bishop of Leeds, Rt Revd Nick Baines, received a written answer from Government regarding the UK joining the US-based International Religious Freedom Alliance:
The Lord Bishop of Leeds: HL17528 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the International Religious Freedom Alliance launched by the United States Secretary of State on 18 July; and what consideration they have given to joining that Alliance. Continue reading “Bishop of Leeds asks for Government position on International Religious Freedom Alliance”