Bishop of Winchester asks about religious persecution as category for refugee status

On 20th March 2018 Lord Roberts of Llandudno asked Her Majesty’s Government “what assessment they have made of the changing situation in Syria.” The Bishop of Winchester, Rt Revd Tim Dakin, asked a follow up question:

The Lord Bishop of Winchester: My Lords, will the Minister give an assurance that in the provision of humanitarian aid to those displaced in this conflict the Department for International Development’s understanding of vulnerability includes religious persecution? Will he also give an assurance that the Government will continue to ensure that the UNHCR’s procedures and criteria for determining refugee status recognise religious persecution as a distinct category? Continue reading “Bishop of Winchester asks about religious persecution as category for refugee status”

Bishop of Winchester raises attacks on Christians in Sudan

winchester171116On the 22nd February 2018 Baroness Cox asked Her Majesty’s Government “what is their assessment of the situation in Sudan, with particular reference to violations of human rights and access to those in need of humanitarian aid”. The Bishop of Winchester, the Rt Revd Tim Dakin, asked a follow-up question about the arrest of Christian leaders and the demolition of churches and schools.

The Lord Bishop of Winchester:  My Lords, since 2011 there have been reports that the Government in Sudan have arrested Christian leaders, demolished churches and prevented church properties from being registered. My Anglican colleagues from the Sudan advised me that church schools are able to open only four days a week, because the Government require that schools are closed on Fridays and Saturdays—of course, Sunday is a holy day for Christians. How much more can the Government ensure that the rights of religious minorities are respected in Sudan?

Continue reading “Bishop of Winchester raises attacks on Christians in Sudan”

Bishop of St Albans raises case of Christian convert & missionary jailed in Iran

On 19th December 2017 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, received a written answer to a question about the imprisonment in Iran of Christian convert and missionary Naser Navard Gol-Tapeh:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have made representations to the government of Iran relating to the case of Naser Navard Gol-Tapeh, an Iranian convert to Christianity who has had his 10-year prison sentence for missionary activities upheld after losing his appeal. Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans raises case of Christian convert & missionary jailed in Iran”

Church Commissioner Questions: Marriage Registration, Religious Minorities in Egypt

On 7th December 2017 MPs put questions to Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP, the Second Church Estates Commissioner, on the Bills she and the Bishop of St Albans are sponsoring to enable mothers names to be registered in equal terms alongside fathers on marriage certificates, and on attacks on religious minorities in Egypt.

Marriage Certificates: Equal Registration

Gillian Keegan (Chichester) (Con): What recent discussions the Church of England has had with the Government on enabling mothers to be registered on an equal basis with fathers on marriage certificates. [902808]

 Wendy Morton (Aldridge-Brownhills) (Con): What recent discussions the Church of England has had with the Government on enabling mothers to be registered on an equal basis with fathers on marriage certificates. [902809]

Tim Loughton (East Worthing and Shoreham) (Con): What recent discussions the Church of England has had with the Government on enabling mothers to be registered on an equal basis with fathers on marriage certificates. [902814]

The Second Church Estates Commissioner (Dame Caroline Spelman): I have had many recent discussions with Departments, particularly the Home Office, not least because of my Registration of Marriage (No. 2) Bill, which is in train. There is an identical Bill before the House of Lords that would achieve the same purpose of allowing mothers to sign marriage certificates. I am not precious about which Bill gets to the finishing line first—we just need to do it. Continue reading “Church Commissioner Questions: Marriage Registration, Religious Minorities in Egypt”

Bishop of Coventry asks Government about freedom of religion and belief and use of the death penalty across the Commonwealth

On Wednesday 15th November 2017 the Bishop of Coventry, Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, received written answers to five questions about freedom of religion and belief and use of the death penalty across the Commonwealth: 

The Lord Bishop of Coventry:

(i) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the number of Commonwealth countries that retain apostasy laws.

(ii) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the number of Commonwealth countries that retain some form of blasphemy law.

(iii) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the number of Commonwealth countries that retain the death penalty.

(iv) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their strategy for protecting freedom of religion or belief across the Commonwealth.

(v) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what percentage of funds currently allocated under the Magna Carta Fund aim to protect or strengthen freedom of religion or belief across the Commonwealth. Continue reading “Bishop of Coventry asks Government about freedom of religion and belief and use of the death penalty across the Commonwealth”

Church Commissioner Questions: income inequality, Heritage Lottery Fund, clergy vocations, oppression of overseas Christians, same-sex marriage

On 26th October 2017 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP, answered questions from MPs on income inequality, the Heritage Lottery Fund, clergy vocations, the oppression of Christians overseas and same-sex marriage.

Income Inequality

Kerry McCarthy (Bristol East) (Lab): What recent discussions the Church of England has had with the Government on income inequality. [901426] Continue reading “Church Commissioner Questions: income inequality, Heritage Lottery Fund, clergy vocations, oppression of overseas Christians, same-sex marriage”

Bishop of Salisbury asks Government about help for returning displaced Christians in Iraq

On 24th October 2017, the Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, repeated a Government statement on the liberation of Raqqa. The Bishop of Salisbury, Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam, asked a follow up question:

The Lord Bishop of Salisbury: My Lords, I thank the Minister for his statement and point out that the Christian presence in Iraq is integral to that country’s cultural identity. A reconstruction committee composed of Chaldean, Syriac and Syriac Orthodox churches has restored over 1,700 properties, but that will restore fewer than a quarter of internationally displaced people. What can the Government do to help those displaced Christians to return safely to that space, like Jonah returning to Nineveh, a place where they belong and are called? How can the Government support them in that process where there is a real threat in terms of faith? Continue reading “Bishop of Salisbury asks Government about help for returning displaced Christians in Iraq”