On 14th January 2019, Lord Ahmed tabled an Oral Question ‘To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the humanitarian situation in Yemen.’ The Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Revd Dr Alan Smith, asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, as well as the huge famine—I congratulate Her Majesty’s Government on what they are doing to respond to it—we are also seeing unfold before our eyes a huge medical crisis, with possibly the largest cholera epidemic in recorded history. Will the Minister update us on what plans and action are being taken with our partners to bring in medical help urgently to try to address this unparalleled, Dickensian level of preventable disease?
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On the 8th January 2019 Baroness Hodgson of Abinger hosted a debate about adolescent girls in conflict-affected countries. The Bishop of Gloucester, the Rt Revd Rachel Treweek spoke in the debate to highlight the need to ratify the Istanbul Convention and to increase the support given to education of children:
The Lord Bishop of Gloucester: My Lords, I too thank the noble Baroness, Lady Hodgson, for securing this debate. It is a great honour to be taking part and to listen to the contributions of so many amazing supporters of women and girls. I should also like to draw attention to my interests as set out in the register.
Following previous speakers, I too should like to reinforce what has been said about violence and access to education. As has been said, before, during and after conflict girls face both physical and sexual violence. It is important to note that trauma follows adolescent girls when they flee from conflict, whether they become refugees or are internally displaced. There is a high risk of sexual abuse in overcrowded, unsanitary and unsafe refugee areas. Girls face not only prostitution and the risk of early marriage; they also face isolation and a lack of access to healthcare and psychological support. I would like to ask the Minister: what specific action are the Government currently taking to support girls in these vulnerable places, and how will rebuilding peace after conflict specifically involve support for these girls?
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On 17th, 20th & 21st December 2018 the Bishop of Leeds, Rt Revd Nick Baines, received written answers to three questions about US sanctions on Iran and migration from Iran.
The Lord Bishop of Leeds: To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many Iranian citizens made asylum applications in (1) 2015, (2) 2016, (3) 2017, and (4) 2018; and how many applications have been granted.
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On 17th December 2018 Lord Ahmed asked the Government “what assessment they have made of the situation of Rohingya refugees and the likelihood of their safe return to Burma.” The Bishop of Winchester, Rt Revd Tim Dakin, asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of Winchester: My Lords, the diocese of Winchester has had a link with Burma/Myanmar since the late 19th century. This gateway state to Asia is therefore of great interest to the praying Christians of the diocese. Will the Minister confirm what action Her Majesty’s Government have taken to ensure the guaranteed security of existing internally displaced persons in Rakhine state and of any refugees who voluntarily return to Myanmar? Continue reading “Bishop of Winchester asks about safety of internally displaced and returning refugees in Burma”
On 14th December 2018 the Archbishop of Canterbury, Most Revd Justin Welby, led a debate in the House of Lords on the Motion: “that this House takes note of the role of reconciliation in British foreign, defence and international development policy”. The Archbishop’s opening and closing speeches in the debate are below. The Bishop of Coventry also spoke in the debate and his speech can be seen here.
The Archbishop of Canterbury: My Lords, I am grateful to the usual channels for permitting this debate; to the noble Lord, Lord Collins of Highbury, for responding on behalf of the Opposition; to the noble Lord, Lord Alderdice; and to the Minister, the noble Earl, Lord Howe, for their time and contributions today. My noble kinsman Lord Williams of Elvel said when I came into the House some years ago, “The wonderful thing about the House of Lords is that whatever you say, there will be a world expert listening to you”. Looking down the list of those who will contribute today, I am conscious of the expertise in the House, including a Nobel laureate, and I am greatly looking forward to hearing from noble Lords whose combined expertise and experience is sure to provide us with much to reflect on.
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On 14th December 2018 the Archbishop of Canterbury, Most Revd Justin Welby, led a debate in the House of Lords on the Motion: “that this House takes note of the role of reconciliation in British foreign, defence and international development policy”. The Bishop of Coventry, Rt Revd Chruistopher Cocksworth also spoke in the debate:
The Lord Bishop of Coventry: My Lords, I am grateful to follow the moving tribute from the noble Lord, Lord Elton, to the Coptic Orthodox Church. I join him in that. I join others in thanking the most reverend Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury for his ground-breaking speech. I pay tribute to his deep commitment to reconciliation on multiple levels.
Like the most reverend Primate, I have been shaped by the Coventry story, with its profound narrative of both the human propensity towards disruption of relationships, with the danger, destruction and death that ensues, and the power of hope to prevail over even the darkest forces—a hope built on the restorative capacity of reconciliation, a virtue that needs to be operative even during war, preparing the way for peace.
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