On 29th July the House of Lords debated a motion from Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon “Global Human Rights Sanctions Regulations 2020”. The Right Revd James Langstaff, Bishop of Rochester, spoke in the debate.
The Lord Bishop of Rochester: My Lords, I, too, welcome this new regime of sanctions, but we must of course ensure that targeted sanctions do not become empty gestures. As other noble Lords have indicated, these sanctions will be most effective when they are consistent with other foreign policy priorities and done through co-ordinated, collective action. Without the support of a wider coalition, we risk being isolated diplomatically.
On 22nd July a statement was given about China. The Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, Bishop of Southwark asked a follow up question.
Lord Bishop of Southwark: My Lords, the Foreign Secretary is correct about the importance and place of China in the world but China’s human rights record, especially as it concerns Uighurs, has been well known for some time. In the light of the recent US Uighurs human rights act, will Her Majesty’s Government consider similar measures and produce a list of Chinese companies involved in the construction and operation of the camps? Given the rising and publicly expressed concern in this country, including by the Board of Deputies, will the Minister now accept that it is high time we took firmer steps to counter Beijing’s harrowing human rights abuses against the Uighurs, and that such abuses should influence negotiations on any future trade deal with China?
On 8th July 2020 Baroness D’Souza asked the Government “what representations they will make to the Government of Bahrain regarding the imprisonment and possible execution of individuals including Mohamed Ramadan and Hussain Moosa, and the reported use of torture to extract their confessions.” The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans [V]: My Lords, the Minister has assured the House that representations have been made to the authorities in Bahrain expressing our complete and utter opposition to the death penalty. Has he also reiterated our opposition to the use of torture to extract confessions? Will Her Majesty’s Government review their existing package of reform assistance to Bahrain to see what further support can be offered to strengthen human rights and the rule of law in Bahrain? Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks Government to help strengthen human rights and the rule of law in Bahrain”
On 6th May 2020 the Bishop of Coventry, Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, received a written answer on the mass arrests of pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong:
The Lord Bishop of Coventry: HL3685 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of China regarding the mass arrests of pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong on 18 April.
On 5th November 2019 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, received a written answer from the Government, in reply to his question about the Rohingya people:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: HL531 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the quality of the Rohingya people’s lives in Bangladesh.
Baroness Sugg: A June 2019 study by the Overseas Development Institute found that refugees felt that their lives would first and foremost be improved through education, then better living conditions, then the ability to support themselves. The study also describes the Rohingya people’s immediate concerns affecting their quality of life, including shelter conditions, lack of firewood or stoves, issues with healthcare, water, sanitation and hygiene and protection support, inadequate food and insufficient supplies.
On the 24th October 2019 Lord Alton hosted a debate in the House of Lords about the current political situation in Hong Kong. The Bishop of Salisbury, the Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam spoke in the debate about the church in Hong Kong, the importance of identity and the need to stand alongside those to whom we have not just a historic but a present commitment, to encourage the keeping of treaties and international law, and the finding of a peaceful resolution to the present conflicts. Lord Ahmad responded for the Government and extracts of his remarks and a link to the whole debate can be found below.
On 22nd July 2019 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, received a written answer from Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, about Uyghur children in China:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans:HL17001 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of China about reports of (1) forcible separations, and (2) re-education, of Uighur children in the eastern province of Xinjiang.
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Con): We have serious concerns about the detention of more than a million Uyghurs, along with widespread surveillance and restrictions targeted at minorities. British diplomats in China visit Xinjiang every few months, in order to see at first-hand the situation there. They most recently visited in May 2019, and their observations have supported much of the recent open source reporting about the restrictions targeted at specific ethnic groups.
On 18th July 2019 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP, answered a written question from Tonia Antoniazzi MP, regarding equality legislation:
Tonia Antoniazzi (Lab):277265 To ask the right hon. Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners, what discussions the (a) Church of England and (b) Church in Wales have had with (i) other religious and faith bodies, (ii) the Government and (iii) the Equality and Human Rights Commission on the exemption of those bodies from equality legislation for appointments and provision of services. Continue reading “Church Commissioners written answer: Equality legislation”