Bishop of Southwark asks about freedom of religion and expression in Turkey

24th May 2021

The Bishop of Southwark: To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the conviction of Sefer (Aho) Bileçen of the Mor Yahqup d-Qarne Monastery on terrorism charges in April, what assessment they have made of the government of Turkey’s policies towards freedom of (1) religion, and (2) cultural expression.

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Bishop of Coventry raises access to religious sites and humanitarian aid in Azerbaijan

On 8th March 2021 the Bishop of Coventry received written answers to questions of Government on access to humanitarian aid and to religious sites in Azerbaijan by Armenians:

The Lord Bishop of Coventry: To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the implementation of restrictions for Armenians to visit the Dadivank Monastery, what representations they have made to the government of Azerbaijan to ensure that Armenians are able to access sites of historical religious importance in areas returned to Azerbaijan. [HL13382]

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Bishop of St Albans asks Government to review UK supply chains over Uighur concerns

In the House of Lords on 17th December 2020 during exchanges on forced Uighur labour within Xinjiang, China, the Bishop of St Albans asked Government to investigate supply chains in UK local and national public contracts:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans [V]: My Lords, the news that forced labour was active in cotton supply chains is not the first example of business connections to Uighur repression.
Previous concerns have also been expressed in relation to Hikvision and its role in the Xinjiang surveillance apparatus. Will the Government commit to a comprehensive review of supply chains in local and national public contracts to ascertain whether public funds have helped to finance this ongoing tragedy?

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Bishop of St Albans asks about technology used for detention of Uyghurs in China

On 23rd and 25th November the Bishop of St Albans received written answers to questions on UK contracts with Pyronix-Hikvision and the use of that company’s technology in Uighur detention facilities in China:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Barran on 10 November (HL9675), how many contracts they have issued to Pyronix-Hikvision in (1) 2018, (2) 2019 and (3) 2020 to date; and what was the value of each such contract. [HL10247] Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks about technology used for detention of Uyghurs in China”

Bishop of Winchester asks Government to continue to prioritise freedom of religion and belief overseas

On 11th November Lord Bruce of Bennachie asked the Government “further to the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, what assessment they have made of (1) their foreign aid, and (2) their development spending, commitments.” The Bishop of Winchester asked a further question:

The Lord Bishop of Winchester [V]: My Lords, protecting freedom of religion or belief remains a pertinent issue in the developing world when more than 80% of the world’s population identify with a religion or belief system. My diocese has historic links with the Church of the Province of Myanmar, and during the pandemic many of its clergy have been providing volunteer support in understaffed hospitals. Can the Minister assure the House that, despite the almost £3 billion cut in the UK’s foreign aid budget, Her Majesty’s Government will continue to prioritise international freedom of religion and belief and recognise the contribution of religious groups in the development and support of their communities, particularly in times of crisis? Continue reading “Bishop of Winchester asks Government to continue to prioritise freedom of religion and belief overseas”

Bishop of Coventry asks about rule of law, freedom of religion in Nigeria

On 12th October 2020 the Bishop of Coventry received answers to two written questions on Nigeria, on the rule of law and freedom of religion, and the detention of Mubarak Bala:

The Lord Bishop of Coventry: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of Nigeria about the arrest and ongoing detention without trial of Mubarak Bala. [HL8623] Continue reading “Bishop of Coventry asks about rule of law, freedom of religion in Nigeria”

Bishop of St Albans raises case of Pakistan death sentence for Christian accused of blasphemy

On Monday 28th September 2020 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, received a written answer to a question on the case of Asif Pervaiz, a Christian sentenced to death under blasphemy laws in Pakistan:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of Pakistan about the case of Asif Pervaiz. [HL8250] Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans raises case of Pakistan death sentence for Christian accused of blasphemy”

Bishop of St Albans: China should not host Winter Olympics because of Uighur treatment

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”

Bishop of St Albans asks Government about restrictions on Christian preachers in China

On 23rd June the Rt Revd Alan Smith, Bishop of St Albans received a written answer to a question  on religious freedom in China.

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: HL5718 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of reports that priests in China have been forced to preach Chinese nationalism in return for the opening of religious spaces.

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Bishop of St Albans asks Government about freedom of religion in China

On 17th June Baroness Northover asked Her Majesty’s Government “what assessment they have made of their relationship with the government of China; whether they intend to alter that relationship; and if so, how they intend to do so”. The Rt Revd Alan Smith, Bishop of St Albans asked a follow up question, focusing on freedom of religion and belief.

Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, inevitably, trade and defence issues will play an important part in our relationship with China. Will the Minister assure us that issues of freedom of religion or belief will not be overlooked? Estimates suggest that between 900,000 and 1.8 million Uighurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz and other Muslims have been detained in Xinjiang province. What plans have the Government made to join our American allies in sanctioning those responsible for the oppression of Uighurs in Xinjiang?

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