On 23rd September 2020 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked Government about the condition of Uighur internment camps in Xinjiang in China, and urged that the International Olympic Committee review China’s hosting of the 2022 Winter Olympics. The exchanges are below, with the further questions asked by other Members:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the condition of Uighur internment camps in Xinjiang in China.
The Minister of State, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon) (Con): My Lords, there are reports of torture and overcrowding in detention centres in Xinjiang, where over a million Uighurs are extrajudicially detained. We have repeatedly condemned the abuses of human rights perpetrated against the Uighurs in Xinjiang and again call upon China to immediately allow UN observers unfettered access to the region and to end extrajudicial detention. Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans: China should not host Winter Olympics because of Uighur treatment”
On Monday 21st September Baroness Cox asked the Government about its response to a recent report on potential genocide taking place in Nigeria. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Most Revd Justin Welby, asked a follow up question:
The Archbishop of Canterbury [V]: My Lords, like the Minister, I am grateful to the noble Baroness for raising this issue; she is tireless and fearless in standing up for the weakest and most vulnerable. While the issues of genocide are often ones of legal terminology, the situation in Nigeria is one of large-scale killing in many areas across all communities and for a wide variety of reasons, not all of which are religious. Would the Minister say how the very large numbers of UK passport holders in Nigeria—most with dual citizenship and families here—are protected and informed of the situation? Would he also say what priority the establishment of reconciliation will get in the allocation of overseas aid in the new department? Continue reading “Archbishop of Canterbury asks Government about killings in Nigeria”
On Thursday 17th September 2020 Baroness D’Souza asked the Government “what assessment they have made of reports of the presence of the Chinese Air Force in Taiwan’s airspace; and what steps they are taking to support the independence of that country.” The Bishop of Southwark, Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of Southwark: My Lords, this country has recognised the Government in Beijing as the legitimate authority in China since January 1950, with a very distinctive status, as the Minister has acknowledged, for Taiwan, which should be discussed peacefully between the authorities in Taipei and those on the mainland. I am glad to hear about the Minister’s lobbying in connection with the World Health Organization. Would he care to comment on this pattern of marked aggression by the current Chinese Government, which has sought to limit options for people at home and abroad and is so damaging? Continue reading “Bishop of Southwark asks Government about ‘marked aggression’ by Chinese Government on Taiwan”
On 29th July the House of Lords debated a motion from Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon “Global Human Rights Sanctions Regulations 2020”. The Right Revd James Langstaff, Bishop of Rochester, spoke in the debate.
The Lord Bishop of Rochester: My Lords, I, too, welcome this new regime of sanctions, but we must of course ensure that targeted sanctions do not become empty gestures. As other noble Lords have indicated, these sanctions will be most effective when they are consistent with other foreign policy priorities and done through co-ordinated, collective action. Without the support of a wider coalition, we risk being isolated diplomatically.
On 27th July Lord Harries of Pentregarth asked Her Majesty’s Government “how the merger of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for International Development will enhance the United Kingdom’s ability to help (1) the poorest, and (2) the most vulnerable, communities abroad.” The Rt Revd James Langstaff, Bishop of Rochester, asked a follow up question, focusing on poverty reduction.
The Lord Bishop of Rochester: My Lords, in this context will the Minister give assurances that the Government will continue to adhere to their stated commitment to poverty reduction, observing both the letter and spirit of domestic development legislation, including not only the matter the Minister has already mentioned—the 0.7% GDP target—but matters such as independent evaluation of impact and gender equality, and that any deviation from the present pattern will be debated and agreed both here and in the other House?
On 8th July 2020 Baroness D’Souza asked the Government “what representations they will make to the Government of Bahrain regarding the imprisonment and possible execution of individuals including Mohamed Ramadan and Hussain Moosa, and the reported use of torture to extract their confessions.” The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans [V]: My Lords, the Minister has assured the House that representations have been made to the authorities in Bahrain expressing our complete and utter opposition to the death penalty. Has he also reiterated our opposition to the use of torture to extract confessions? Will Her Majesty’s Government review their existing package of reform assistance to Bahrain to see what further support can be offered to strengthen human rights and the rule of law in Bahrain? Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks Government to help strengthen human rights and the rule of law in Bahrain”
On 18th June 2020 a Government statement on the proposed merger of the Department for International Development and the Foreign Office, was repeated in the House of Lords. The Bishop of Peterborough, Rt Revd Donald Allister, responded:
The Lord Bishop of Peterborough: My Lords, I thank the Leader of the House for answering questions on this matter. On these Benches, we affirm the Government’s right to organise themselves as they think best for the common good. We look forward to greater integration between foreign and development policy and values, and we warmly commend the continued 0.7% commitment. I am grateful to have heard the noble Baroness’s assurance that the Government will remain committed to the OECD DAC rules—it would be lovely to have that repeated. Can we have another assurance that the Government will preserve the primary focus of UK aid as poverty reduction? Continue reading “Bishop of Peterborough welcomes Government continuing commitments to UK aid”