Bishop of Gloucester urges Government to support girls in conflict-zones and ratify Istanbul Convention

On the 8th January 2019 Baroness Hodgson of Abinger hosted a debate about adolescent girls in conflict-affected countries. The Bishop of Gloucester, the Rt Revd Rachel Treweek spoke in the debate to highlight the need to ratify the Istanbul Convention and to increase the support given to education of children:

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The Lord Bishop of Gloucester:  My Lords, I too thank the noble Baroness, Lady Hodgson, for securing this debate. It is a great honour to be taking part and to listen to the contributions of so many amazing supporters of women and girls. I should also like to draw attention to my interests as set out in the register.

 

Following previous speakers, I too should like to reinforce what has been said about violence and access to education. As has been said, before, during and after conflict girls face both physical and sexual violence. It is important to note that trauma follows adolescent girls when they flee from conflict, whether they become refugees or are internally displaced. There is a high risk of sexual abuse in overcrowded, unsanitary and unsafe refugee areas. Girls face not only prostitution and the risk of early marriage; they also face isolation and a lack of access to healthcare and psychological support. I would like to ask the Minister: what specific action are the Government currently taking to support girls in these vulnerable places, and how will rebuilding peace after conflict specifically involve support for these girls?

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Archbishop of Canterbury leads debate on reconciliation in British foreign, defence and international development policy

On 14th December 2018 the Archbishop of Canterbury, Most Revd Justin Welby, led a debate in the House of Lords on the Motion: “that this House takes note of the role of reconciliation in British foreign, defence and international development policy”.  The Archbishop’s opening and closing speeches in the debate are below. The Bishop of Coventry also spoke in the debate and his speech can be seen here.

The Archbishop of Canterbury: My Lords, I am grateful to the usual channels for permitting this debate; to the noble Lord, Lord Collins of Highbury, for responding on behalf of the Opposition; to the noble Lord, Lord Alderdice; and to the Minister, the noble Earl, Lord Howe, for their time and contributions today. My noble kinsman Lord Williams of Elvel said when I came into the House some years ago, “The wonderful thing about the House of Lords is that whatever you say, there will be a world expert listening to you”. Looking down the list of those who will contribute today, I am conscious of the expertise in the House, including a Nobel laureate, and I am greatly looking forward to hearing from noble Lords whose combined expertise and experience is sure to provide us with much to reflect on.

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Bishop of Rochester on success of faith-based partnerships in development

On 12th July 2018 the House of Lords debated a motion from Baroness Stroud, “That this House takes note of the steps being taken by Her Majesty’s Government to engage with small charities and faith-based organisations in delivering United Kingdom aid overseas.” The Bishop of Rochester, Rt Revd James Langstaff, spoke in the debate:

The Lord Bishop of Rochester: My Lords, I had not intended to speak in this debate, because I did not think I would be able to be here, but I am prompted to do so in response to the mention of Tearfund by the ​noble Baroness. I am grateful to the noble Baroness for bringing forward this important debate on a significant part of our contribution to development in other parts of the world. Continue reading “Bishop of Rochester on success of faith-based partnerships in development”

Bishop of Durham asks Government about renewable energy and development

On the 15th May 2018 Baroness Sheehan asked the Government “how much overseas development assistance was spent on fossil fuel subsidies in the most recent reporting period.” The Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, asked a follow up question about small-scale, off-grid energy systems.

The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, 1.06 billion people on the planet currently live without modern energy services. Renewable energy, particularly small-scale and off-grid energy systems, will play a key role in making sure that energy-poor communities have access to affordable and reliable electricity. DfID’s Energy Africa campaign is an excellent example of this. Will the Minister update the House on the progress of that campaign since its launch in 2015, and elaborate on the Government’s plans for spending on small-scale, off-grid energy systems? Continue reading “Bishop of Durham asks Government about renewable energy and development”

Dame Caroline Spelman MP hosts debate about Internally Displaced People

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On the 25th April the Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP hosted a debate in Westminster Hall to highlight the plight of Internally Displaced People. The Minister of State for the Department for International Development, the Rt Hon Alistair Burt MP responded to the debate on behalf of the Government. The full debate can be read using the link below.

 

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Bishop of St Albans highlights work of church-based agencies in supporting women in developing countries

stalbans190117On the 22nd February 2018 Lord Loomba led a debate in the House of Lords on the question “to ask Her Majesty’s Government what priority they give to women and girls, including widows, when developing and implementing Department for International Development initiatives and projects.” The Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Revd Alan Smith, spoke in the debate.

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: I too thank the noble Lord, Lord Loomba, for initiating this debate. I also pay tribute to his work, especially among women and widows.

The poet William Ross Wallace wrote in 1865 that those who rock the cradle rule the world. The contribution that women make to the well-being of their communities and beyond has been overlooked far too frequently, whether by history or by institutions. As we celebrate the centenary of women’s suffrage, we recall the injustices that women in our own society have faced as we work to combat current injustices at home and, of course, overseas.

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Bishop of Derby asks government about access to water in developing countries

derby-19117On the 24th January 2018 Lord Cameron of Dillington held a debate about sustainable water management in developing countries. The Bishop of Derby, the Rt Revd Alistair Redfern spoke in the debate and highlighted the work of a local charity in Derbyshire who send aid boxes containing hydration units to areas of conflict or natural disaster:

The Lord Bishop of Derby: I too thank the noble Lord, Lord Cameron, for introducing this vital issue. The timeframe is pressing and getting shorter. It is wonderful to hear the testimony of colleagues about Nepal and the inspiring story of the noble Lord, Lord Freeman, on what can be done with commitment. However, it is the scale of the problem that we have to mark.

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