Bishop of Derby on role of the Commonwealth in development and modelling diversity

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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

Bishop of Coventry asks Government about funding of faith-based organisations for humanitarian work in Iraq

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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

Bishop of Oxford welcomes Criminal Finances Bill, calls for further action on tax transparency in UK overseas territories

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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

Bishop of Coventry asks Government about help for minority people in Iraq to return to their homes

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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

Bishop of Peterborough asks whether Government is addressing China’s North Korean refugee policy

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14.02 PeterboroughOn 28th February, Lord Alton of Liverpool asked the Government,  in the light of the sanctions imposed by China against North Korea following the assassination of Kim Jong-nam and the recent ballistic missile test, whether they will call in the North Korean Ambassador. The Bishop of Peterborough, the Rt Revd Donald Allister, asked a follow up question about the Government’s engagement with China over their policy to return North Korean refugees to the country.  Continue reading

Bishop of Southwark asks Government to condemn arrest of peaceful demonstrators in West Papua

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southwark-20feb17On 21st February 2017, Lord Harries of Pentregarth asked Her Majesty’s Government “what representations they have made to the government of Indonesia concerning human rights abuses in West Papua”. The Bishop of Southwark, the Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, asked a follow up question about West Papuans being arrested for peaceful demonstrations.

The Lord Bishop of Southwark My Lords, with West Papuans continuing to be arrested and imprisoned for peaceful actions such as—as has already been said—demonstrating and even handing out flyers, and after Steven Itlay, leading a prayer ceremony in West Papua on 5 April 2016 to pray for West Papua to be accepted as a full member of the Melanesian Spearhead Group, was arrested and convicted of treason and spent seven months incarcerated, will the Minister reassure noble Lords that Her Majesty’s Government have specifically condemned these actions? Continue reading