On 5th April 2017, Baroness Northover asked Her Majesty’s Government “how they are intending to respond to the chemical attack seemingly carried out by the Syrian Government on civilians in the town of Khan Sheikhoun.” The Bishop of Peterborough, the Rt Revd Donald Allister, asked a follow up question about future international efforts to rebuild Syria after peace is secured in the area.
The Lord Bishop of Peterborough My Lords, as the most reverend Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury said yesterday, we on these Benches mourn with the people of Idlib and we pray for justice and an end to violence. However, if and when peace is finally secured in the region, the scale of suffering and damage experienced by the people of Syria over the past six years will demand enormous and costly international effort if Syria is to be rebuilt. Will Her Majesty’s Government commit not just to supporting the people of Syria in the short term but to supporting the decades-long process of restoration that will inevitably be needed once the present crisis is over? Continue reading
On the 28th March 2017 Baroness Sheehan asked a question about access to healthcare in East Jerusalem for residents from the Occupied Territories. The Bishop of Winchester, Rt Revd Tim Dakin, asked a supplementary question:
The Bishop of Winchester: My Lords, we have heard how the people of the Occupied Territories continue to face challenges accessing emergency care. The diocese of Jerusalem provides hospitals and health centres across this area, but many of the vital facilities and services are not fully operational because the equipment cannot be calibrated and staff lack accreditation. What conversations have Her Majesty’s Government had with the Israeli Government to facilitate the necessary inspections to ensure that these and similar facilities become operational and therefore reduce the reliance of Palestinian people on reaching hospitals in East Jerusalem?
On 16th March 2017 the House of Lords debated a Government motion “To move that this House takes note of the United Kingdom’s relationship with the Commonwealth, ahead of the United Kingdom hosting the Heads of Government meeting in 2018.” The Bishop of Derby, Rt Revd Alastair Redfern, spoke in the debate:
The Lord Bishop of Derby: My Lords, I thank the noble Baroness, Lady Anelay for her introduction and her leadership in international development matters and, now, the Commonwealth. I want us to think of the Commonwealth as a global community which, like any community, will have very mixed ingredients, as we have already heard. Although it is important in our present moment to look at the potential for trade and its enriching, I want us to look at the wider context in which the meeting is happening and what the agenda for the Heads of Government might be to be fruitful. Continue reading
On 14th March 2017 the Bishop of Coventry, Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, received written answers to five questions to Government on aid and religious freedom in Iraq and Egypt. Continue reading
On 9th and 10th March 2017 the Bishop of Coventry, Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, received written answers to questions of Government about funding for humanitarian work by faith-based organisations in Iraq:
The Lord Bishop of Coventry: To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Bates on 20 February (HL5245), what steps they are taking to encourage faith-based organisations in Iraq to access UK funding through the UN-managed Iraq Humanitarian Pooled Fund. Continue reading
On 9th March 2017 the House of Lords debated the Government’s Criminal Finances Bill at its Second Reading. The Bishop of Oxford, Rt Revd Steven Croft, spoke in the debate, supporting the Bill and calling for action on tax transparency in UK overseas territories and Crown dependencies.
The Lord Bishop of Oxford: My Lords, I join other noble Lords in thanking the Government for introducing this Bill. I support it. The Government have led on tackling corruption since the then Prime Minister set the issue of tax transparency at the heart of his G8 summit in 2013. He should also be thanked for hosting the anti-corruption summit in May last year. The Bill follows this good record and takes some further welcome steps to try to tackle corruption. The unexplained wealth orders will provide stronger powers for UK law enforcement to seize and repatriate the proceeds of grand corruption. The new corporate offences of failure to prevent the facilitation of tax evasion should be particularly praised because they will apply all over the world. I hope that in due course these offences will apply to all economic crime. Continue reading
On 9th March 2017 the Bishop of Coventry asked a question in the House of Lords that he had tabled, on help for displaced minority communities in Iraq. His question and follow-up, with those of other Members is reproduced below.
The Lord Bishop of Coventry: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to help displaced minority communities in Iraq to return to their homes in areas liberated from Daesh.
The Minister of State, Department for International Development (Lord Bates) (Con): My Lords, UK aid is supporting vulnerable people, including minorities, to return to their homes in areas liberated from Daesh in Iraq. With UK funding, the UN is helping people to return home by restoring light infrastructure, re-opening hospitals and schools, and providing cash assistance to people who need to re-establish their livelihoods.
The Lord Bishop of Coventry: I thank the Minister for his reply and pay tribute to the Government’s work thus far. The Minister may like to know that I was in Iraq in January and was gladdened by personal assurances from the President, the Prime Minister and the Iraqi authorities about their desire to rebuild the diverse fabric of the society. Continue reading