Bishop of Coventry on peacebuilding and need to protect minority communities in Syria


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:

Coventry Moses RoomThe 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. Continue reading

Bishop of Coventry asks Government about refusal of visas to Archbishops from Syria and Iraq


13.10 Bishop of CoventryOn 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. Continue reading

Bishop of London responds to the Chilcot Report on the invasion of Iraq


“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:

Bp London 131015The 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. Continue reading

Bishop of Ely responds to statement on Chilcot report on Iraq War


ElyOn 6th July 2016, Earl Howe repeated a Government statement on the Chilcot Inquiry. The Bishop of Ely, Rt. Rev. Stephen Conway, responded to the statement.


The Lord Bishop of Ely: My Lords, I take the opportunity to draw out what has already been implicit in what has been said so far this afternoon about the deep moral dimension of what we are discussing. I agree with the noble Lord that our troops need not only the assurance of our support, through the covenant, that they have been doing their duty, but the right to believe that what they had been entered into was right and that, when they sacrifice their lives or their continued health, they understand that they were doing something that was entered into with great integrity in the service of others. Continue reading

Bishop of Southwark asks about help for displaced people in Iraq and Syria


On 12th May 2016 Baroness Sheehan asked Her Majesty’s Government “what evidence they have to support their claim that “pull factors” are responsible for the mass movement of people from the Middle East and North Africa in recent years.” The Bishop of Southwark, Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, asked a follow up question:

SouthwarkThe Lord Bishop of Southwark: My Lords, what possibilities does Her Majesty’s Government see for effective governance in Libya and for the much-needed increase in giving by our international partners to maintain the displaced populations of Iraq and Syria, which will impact on the movement of people and, most importantly, make a positive contribution to their lives? Continue reading

Church Commissioner questions: same sex marriage, Near Neighbours, Iraq, apprenticeships, ethical investment


On 5th May 2016 MPs asked questions in the House of Commons to Rt Hon Caroline Spelman MP, on behalf of the Church Commissioners. Questions were asked on same sex marriage, Near Neighbours, Iraq, apprenticeships and ethical investment:
Spelman CCQs June 2015 4 Continue reading

Bishop of Southwark asks Government about future development support to Iraq


BishSouthwarktaxcreditsOn 3rd May 2016 the Bishop of Southwark, Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, received a written answer to a question about DfID’s future support to Iraq:

The Lord Bishop of Southwark: To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Verma on 1 April (HL7307), when they expect the Department for International Development to complete its assessment of the future support to Iraq through the Bilateral Aid Review process. [HL7711] Continue reading