The Bishop of Wakefield asks question about humanitarian assistance in Gaza

Baroness Falkner of Margravine asked Her Majesty’s Government what assistance they have given to the people of Gaza over the last three months.

The Bishop of Wakefield asked a supplementary question:

The Lord Bishop of Wakefield: My Lords, following Egypt’s closure of the tunnels, which has already been referred to, will the Minister give an assurance that the Department for International Development will adjust its aid package accordingly, to try to address some of the terrible suffering to which we have already heard reference?

Baroness Northover: The United Kingdom and the EU are putting in a massive amount of assistance, which is much needed in Gaza for the reasons the right reverend Prelate has given. Gaza has suffered a lot from the closure of the tunnels. However, the tunnels themselves help to fund Hamas and this is an opportunity to encourage Israel to open the borders there and to support the moderate elements in Gaza. Certainly, at the moment, the international organisations are saying that the underlying causes of the problems need to be addressed. The immediate shortages are being dealt with adequately.


Archbishop of York urges European co-operation in response to crisis in Central African Republic

On 16th January 2014, Baroness Berridge asked Her Majesty’s Government what is their response to the failure of the transition government and the growing crisis in the Central African Republic.

Archbishop of YorkThe Most Revd and Rt Hon John Sentamu, Archbishop of York, asked a supplementary question:

The Archbishop of York: My Lords, does the Minister agree that the scale of the crisis is very large? I am grateful for what the Government are doing in response to this particular crisis, but will they use their offices in the European Union to make sure that all nations take part in dealing with this rather appalling situation? I am not confident that the African Union actually has the capacity to deal with the situation, much as it is on the ground. I hope the Minister can give us some comfort by confirming that the Government are talking to our European allies to ensure that whatever is needed is provided. Otherwise, we will end up with genocide and pictures on our television screens that will make all our stomachs churn day by day.

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Bishop of Worcester speaks in debate on Middle East Peace Process

“I would describe myself as a pro-Palestinian Zionist, wholeheartedly committed to the right of Israel to exist securely, and equally committed to the right of the Palestinian people to a viable state in which they can flourish. Reaching that is crucial to a wider Middle East peace settlement.” – The Bishop of Worcester

WorcesterOn 14th January 2014, the Bishop of Worcester took part in a debate on what role the European Union is currently playing in efforts to reach a wider Middle East peace settlement. He focused his comments on new EU guidelines on Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. Continue reading “Bishop of Worcester speaks in debate on Middle East Peace Process”

Bishop of Coventry receives answer to written question on Syria

On 11th December 2013, the Bishop of Coventry received an answer to a written question on Syria.

13.10 Bishop of CoventryThe Lord Bishop of Coventry: To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they plan to participate in the resettlement programme for Syrian refugees administered by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): The Government shares the deep concerns regarding the continuing humanitarian crisis in Syria. However, the Government has no current plans to resettle Syrian refugees either as part of, or in addition to, its annual resettlement quota. We continue to believe that the priority should be to provide humanitarian assistance to displaced people in partnership with neighbouring countries and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. The UK has now increased its pledge for the Syrian relief effort to £500 million. This represents the UK’s largest ever response to a humanitarian crisis.


Bishop of Truro takes part in tributes to Nelson Mandela

On 9th December 2013, the House of Lords offered tributes to the former President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, who passed away on 5th December 2013, aged 95. The Bishop of Truro spoke during the tributes on behalf of the Lords Spiritual. 

Bishop of Truro 20.6.13The Lord Bishop of Truro: My Lords, I am keen to associate myself and all my colleagues who sit on these Benches with the tributes paid to Mr Mandela here and throughout the world. The focus on one man is extraordinary, but it is entirely right, for he was extraordinary. My thoughts and prayers go to all his family and friends and indeed to everyone in the whole country of South Africa, who have lost a father.

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Syria – Written Question

On 4th December 2013, the Bishop of Coventry received an answer to a written question on Syria.

13.10 Bishop of CoventryThe Lord Bishop of Coventry: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of Amnesty International’s report of 31 October on Growing Restrictions, Tough Conditions: The plight of those fleeing Syria to Jordan.

Baroness Northover: The Government is committed to ensuring those affected by the crisis in Syria can get assistance wherever they seek refuge. We are providing multi-year financial and technical support to neighbouring countries, and for them to keep borders open. To date the UK has allocated £105.1 million to Jordan to support refugees and host communities. DFID also recently announced £12 million of development funding over the next two years to help local Jordanian municipal governments maintain and improve public services. Neighbouring countries have been extremely generous in hosting Syrian refugees, and we urge them to continue to show that generosity by welcoming those seeking safety keep their borders open.


Israel and Palestine: West Bank – Written Questions

On 2nd December 2013, the Bishop of Worcester received answers to three written questions related to the situation in the West Bank.

The Lord Bishop of Worcester: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to Worcesteraddress impediments to the delivery of humanitarian assistance in the West Bank such as the confiscation of humanitarian aid and the prevention of access to communities in need of emergency assistance.

Baroness Northover: We are concerned at reports that the Israeli military authorities have blocked the delivery of humanitarian assistance to Palestinian communities in Area C of the West Bank. Where humanitarian aid is needed, Israel is obliged under international humanitarian law to facilitate the work of humanitarian relief schemes. Our Embassy in Tel Aviv has raised this issue with the Israeli National Security Adviser and the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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