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”
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”
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”
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”
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.
Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks Government about restrictions on Christian preachers 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?
Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks Government about freedom of religion in China”
On 13th February 2020 Lord Sheikh asked the Government “what progress they have made towards the adoption of a formal definition of Islamophobia.” The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, we on these Benches deplore all attacks on any religious groups and we note particularly the huge rise in the deeply concerning issue of attacks on Muslims. The Minister will be aware of the media reports on Imam Asim of Makkah mosque in Leeds and his comments on free speech. Does the Minister agree with me and the most reverend Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury that Muslims and all religious groups deserve better media? Does he further agree that, alongside law, we need to seriously address this through education?
Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans deplores attacks on Muslims, calls for better education”
On 4th November 2019 Lord Leigh of Hurley asked the Government “how many universities in England have adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism; and what steps they intend to take in respect of those which have not”. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Most Revd and Rt Hon Justin Welby, asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Archbishop of Canterbury: My Lords, I declare an interest as president of the Council of Christians and Jews, founded in the depths of the Second World War by Chief Rabbi Hertz and Archbishop William Temple. I applaud the noble Baroness’s long history of standing up for freedom of religion and belief. Like the noble Lord, the CCJ hears numerous reports of no-platforming, intimidation and lack of free speech. I fully accept that universities are autonomous, but will the Minister look for ways in which pressure can be applied to ensure that these standards are kept? Does she agree that mere exhortation is not really working?
Continue reading “Archbishop of Canterbury asks Government for pressure on universities over antisemitism on campus”
On 10th July 2019 Baroness Berridge asked the Government “what plans they have to recognise the newly designated United Nations Day for commemorating the victims of acts of violence based on religion or belief on 22 August”. The Bishop of Chelmsford, Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell, asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of Chelmsford: My Lords, perhaps I may say that, on behalf of many of us, we welcome the Government’s support for this day, although we hugely grieve for the fact that such a day is necessary. One of the best ways that we will tackle continuing violence, based on religion or belief, in the long run will be through education. I wonder whether Her Majesty’s Government are planning or investing in the training of educators and religious leaders from countries where there are high levels of freedom of religion or belief violations, so that we can promote respect and peaceful coexistence. This would be a very profitable investment.
Continue reading “Bishop of Chelmsford asks Government about education as means to tackle violence based on religion or belief”