On 14th March 2017 the Bishop of Coventry, Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, received written answers to five questions to Government on aid and religious freedom in Iraq and Egypt.
On 9th and 10th March 2017 the Bishop of Coventry, Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, received written answers to questions of Government about funding for humanitarian work by faith-based organisations in Iraq:
The Lord Bishop of Coventry: To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Bates on 20 February (HL5245), what steps they are taking to encourage faith-based organisations in Iraq to access UK funding through the UN-managed Iraq Humanitarian Pooled Fund.
On 9th March 2017 the Bishop of Coventry asked a question in the House of Lords that he had tabled, on help for displaced minority communities in Iraq. His question and follow-up, with those of other Members is reproduced below.
The Lord Bishop of Coventry: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to help displaced minority communities in Iraq to return to their homes in areas liberated from Daesh.
The Minister of State, Department for International Development (Lord Bates) (Con): My Lords, UK aid is supporting vulnerable people, including minorities, to return to their homes in areas liberated from Daesh in Iraq. With UK funding, the UN is helping people to return home by restoring light infrastructure, re-opening hospitals and schools, and providing cash assistance to people who need to re-establish their livelihoods.
The Lord Bishop of Coventry: I thank the Minister for his reply and pay tribute to the Government’s work thus far. The Minister may like to know that I was in Iraq in January and was gladdened by personal assurances from the President, the Prime Minister and the Iraqi authorities about their desire to rebuild the diverse fabric of the society.
On the 20th February 2017, the Bishop of Coventry, the Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, received written answers to questions about the situation in Iraq.
Bishop of Coventry: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what political and financial assistance they are providing to strengthen and develop the structures and mechanisms for interreligious dialogue and co-operation in Iraq.
On 9th February 2017 the House of Lords debated a motion from Crossbench Peer Baroness Cox “To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of recent developments in Syria.” The Bishop of Coventry, Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, spoke in the debate:
The Lord Bishop of Coventry: My Lords, I thank the noble Baroness for securing this debate. My main reason for speaking is to draw your Lordships’ attention and, especially, Her Majesty’s Government, to a recent report by the World Council of Churches, The Protection Needs of Minorities in Syria and Iraq. It is a serious piece of field study that has gathered the first-hand views of some 4,000 people, over 2,000 of them Syrians from minority communities: Christians, Yazidis, Druze, Turkmen and many others. I was in Baghdad and Irbil last month as part of a World Council of Churches delegation to test the findings of the report with community leaders and members, as well as with UNAMI and locally based NGOs, and confirm the soundness of its recommendations. I have every reason to believe that the report’s analysis of the Syrian situation is as credible as we found its Iraqi analysis to be. Therefore I ask the Minister that the Government engage with this robust report.
On the 21st December 2016, the Bishop of Coventry, the Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, received answers to written questions concerning visa applications from Syria and Iraq and the refusal of visas to Archbishops.
The Lord Bishop of Coventry: To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have any plans to review why the Archbishop of Mosul, the Archbishop of St Matthews and the Archbishop of Homs and Hama were refused visas to travel to the UK from Iraq and Syria to attend the consecration of the Syriac Orthodox Cathedral in London.
“There is no doubt that someone who dwells on history can be somewhat tedious, but at the same time someone with a sense of destiny and no sense of history can be very dangerous.”- Bishop of London, 12/7/16
On 12th July 2016 the House of Lords debated a Government motion “That this House takes note of the Report of the Iraq Inquiry”. The Bishop of London, Rt Rev and Rt Hon Richard Chartres, spoke in the debate:
The Lord Bishop of London: My Lords, it is humbling to follow such a powerful and authoritative voice. I am also grateful to the Minister for the constructive way he introduced this debate and invited us to think about the lessons we can apply now. Sir John Chilcot recommends more thorough analysis before military action and a more collaborative approach to policy-making. I imagine that every one of your Lordships would probably agree that the case is well made, but politicians caught up in oppressive events, a rapidly changing situation and a 24/7 news environment, and with an ally who is losing patience, do not have much time for pondering decisions. Therefore—this echoes many of the remarks of the previous noble Lord—the culture and assumptions that leaders bring to the crisis are hugely significant.