On 24th May 2023, during a debate on the Illegal Migration Bill, the Archbishop of Canterbury intervened during a speech by Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbots, raising a point of clarification on numbers of migrants the Bill was intended to apply to:Continue reading “Illegal Migration Bill: Archbishop makes point of clarity on numbers Bill will apply to”
Illegal Migration Bill: Bishop of Chelmsford supports amendments to ensure compliance with international legislation
On 24th May 2023, the House of Lords debated the Illegal Migration Bill in its first day of Committee. The Bishop of Chelmsford spoke on the details of the bill concerning “safe and legal routes”, in support of two amendments:
- amendment 4, tabled by Lord Paddick, Lord Kirkhope of Harrogate, Lord Etherton, and Baroness Chakrabarti, which would replace clause 1 of the bill with a requirement that bill not violate any international legal obligations
- amendment 84, tabled by Lord Alton of Liverpool, aimed at ensuring compliance with international legislation against human trafficking
The Lord Bishop of Chelmsford: My Lords, I support Amendments 4 and 84; I also have a great deal of sympathy for Amendment 148. I declare an interest as vice-chair of the independent Commission on the Integration of Refugees. I have been listening with great interest to the expert points raised by particularly the noble Baroness, Lady Chakrabarti, but also other noble Lords.
I am sure noble Lords will be aware that Clause 1, as it stands, is a narrative introduction that sets the scope and intent of the Bill as a whole. Crucially, it defines the purpose of the Bill as
“to prevent and deter unlawful migration, and in particular migration by unsafe and illegal routes”.
I am sure we can all sympathise with the desire to make the migration system thoroughly orderly and predictable in nature, but I question whether this is plausible and whether what it entails is indeed desirable, particularly if it cannot guarantee compatibility with those international treaties, as we have heard. The sort of circumstances of catastrophe and persecution that drive refugees do not tend to allow for orderly or safe departures. I know this from my own personal experience but also from having spoken to many asylum seekers and refugees over the years.Continue reading “Illegal Migration Bill: Bishop of Chelmsford supports amendments to ensure compliance with international legislation”
Bishop of Chelmsford asks Government why it has rowed back on commitment in Windrush Lessons Learned Review
The Bishop of Chelmsford asked a question on why the government had rowed back commitments made on the Windrush Lessons Learned Review on 24th May 2023, during a discussion on plans to mark the 75th Anniversary of the Empire Windrush’s arrival in the UK:Continue reading “Bishop of Chelmsford asks Government why it has rowed back on commitment in Windrush Lessons Learned Review”
Bishop of Durham asks about the proposed Illegal Migration Bill
The Bishop of Durham received the following written answers on 23rd May 2023:
The Lord Bishop of Durham asked His Majesty’s Government whether there have been any changes to asylum screening interviews since 7 March.
Lord Murray of Blidworth (Con, Home Office): There have been no changes to the asylum screening interview template since 7 March.Continue reading “Bishop of Durham asks about the proposed Illegal Migration Bill”
Bishop of Durham asks about impact of Illegal Migration Bill on children’s rights
The Bishop of Durham received the following written answer on 17th May 2023:
The Lord Bishop Durham asked His Majesty’s Government whether a Child Rights Impact Assessment has been carried out for the Illegal Migration Bill to assess the impact it will have on children; if so, what was the outcome of the assessment; and if it has not yet been completed, when it will take place.
Lord Murray of Blidworth (Con, Home Office): We will publish a child’s rights impact assessment in respect of the Illegal Migration Bill in due course.
Illegal Migration Bill: Bishop of Durham highlights threats to safeguarding and potential breaching of the refugee convention
On 10th May 2023, the House of Lords debated the Illegal Migration Bill in its first reading. The Bishop of Durham spoke in the debate, pointing out risks to child safeguarding and potential breaches of the refugee convention if the bill was enacted as written:
The Lord Bishop of Durham: I declare my interests as a member of the RAMP project and a trustee of Reset.
When looking to engage with a Bill, Members decide whether to focus on the detail or address the underlying principles behind the proposed legislation. This Bill leaves me with no choice but to start with the latter, as it asks fundamental questions about who we are as a nation. In order to supposedly reduce channel crossings, are we really prepared to consent to “extinguishing”, as the UNHCR puts it, the right to claim asylum and withholding support for victims of trafficking, and indefinitely detaining thousands of asylum seekers, including children and pregnant women? We have been left to consider the Bill’s provisions without an impact assessment, but these consequences will potentially lead to an unjustified intolerable level of harm which does not reflect who we are as a nation.Continue reading “Illegal Migration Bill: Bishop of Durham highlights threats to safeguarding and potential breaching of the refugee convention”
Bishop of St Albans asks about migration trends in the Horn of Africa
The Bishop of St Albans received the following written answer on 17th April 2023:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans asked His Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the recent trends in population migration in the Horn of Africa, given the famine in that region.
Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park (Con): Across East Africa levels of displacement are increasing due to the humanitarian impacts of conflict and climate change. For example, the International Organisation for Migration estimate that, in 2022, 2.8 million people were displaced by drought across Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia. Armed violence continues to cause significant displacement including of 2.2 million refugees from South Sudan who are currently hosted in the region.
Bishop of Gloucester asks about report on domestic abuse
The Bishop of Gloucester received the following written answer on 17th April 2023:
The Lord Bishop of Gloucester asked His Majesty’s Government:
- when they plan to publish their response to the Domestic Abuse Commissioner’s report Safety before status: the solutions, which was due in February.
- what assessment has been made of the recommendations in the Domestic Abuse Commissioner’s second report into migrant survivors, Safety before status: the solutions, published on 13 December 2022.
Lord Sharpe of Epsom (Con): Tackling violence against women and girls is a government priority. We are committed to supporting victims of abuse, regardless of their immigration status.Continue reading “Bishop of Gloucester asks about report on domestic abuse”
Bishop of Durham asks about protection for children arriving in the UK
The Bishop of Durham asked a question about protection for children and unaccompanied minors arriving in the UK on 8th March 2023, following the government’s announcement of the planned Illegal Migration Bill:
The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, I return to the Statement, rather than the Bill, which we will spend hours debating in due course. There was a lot in this Statement that worried me, but what worried me even more was that there was no reference whatever to children, unaccompanied children and their protection in this whole process. Can the Minister comment on why nothing was said about that in the Statement?Continue reading “Bishop of Durham asks about protection for children arriving in the UK”
Bishop of Chelmsford asks about appointment of a migrants commissioner
The Bishop of Chelmsford asked a question on the potential appointment of a migrants commissioner, during a debate on the Windrush Lessons Learned Review on 12th January 2022:
The Lord Bishop of Chelmsford: My Lords, many of the recommendations in the Windrush Lessons Learned Review also have implications for how the UK should steer its current refugee and asylum policy: recommendation 9 concerning the creation of a migrants’ commissioner, recommendation 19 regarding direct contact with migrants and recommendation 25 requiring consideration of risks to vulnerable groups or individuals. What assurances can the Minister provide that there will not be a repeat of the mistakes made with the Windrush generation, this time with asylum seekers and refugees, and can he comment on any progress made on recommendation 9 and the appointment of a migrants’ commissioner?Continue reading “Bishop of Chelmsford asks about appointment of a migrants commissioner”
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