On 11th July 2019 Lord Elton led a debate in the House of Lords “That this House takes note of the extent of persecution of people of faith in this century.” The Bishop; of Chelmsford, Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell, spoke in the debate:
The Lord Bishop of Chelmsford: My Lords, I too am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Elton, for this opportunity to examine the extent of persecution of people of faith. I will not repeat the heart-breaking stories of the terrible atrocities that besmirch our world, but they are of course the day-to-day reality for so many people of faith. I thank the noble Lord, Lord Alton, and others for telling those stories—they need to be heard.
The diocese I serve as Bishop of Chelmsford covers east London and Essex and contains some of the most diverse and rapidly changing communities in our land. Here, faith leaders and grassroots worshippers from all religions are engaged in some of the most humbling and encouraging initiatives to hold fast to that most irreducible of godly virtues: peace. Although east London is often a place where bridges are built, sadly, it is also too often an arena where the backwash from religious intolerance, persecution and strife from around the world is felt. We are a global village, but sadly we are also a global playground where much cruelty and intolerance go unchecked.
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On 10th July 2019 Baroness Berridge asked the Government “what plans they have to recognise the newly designated United Nations Day for commemorating the victims of acts of violence based on religion or belief on 22 August”. The Bishop of Chelmsford, Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell, asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of Chelmsford: My Lords, perhaps I may say that, on behalf of many of us, we welcome the Government’s support for this day, although we hugely grieve for the fact that such a day is necessary. One of the best ways that we will tackle continuing violence, based on religion or belief, in the long run will be through education. I wonder whether Her Majesty’s Government are planning or investing in the training of educators and religious leaders from countries where there are high levels of freedom of religion or belief violations, so that we can promote respect and peaceful coexistence. This would be a very profitable investment.
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On 3rd July 2019 Baroness Williams of Trafford answered a written question from the Bishop of Coventry, Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, on their definition of persecuted groups:
The Lord Bishop of Coventry: HL16494 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of what constitutes persecution of groups of people.
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On 25th June 2019 during Foreig Office Questions, the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP, asked the Foreign Secretary about diplomats and religious literacy:
Dame Caroline Spelman: This Foreign Secretary deserves credit for setting up an independent review into the persecution of Christians worldwide, but will he ensure that a lasting legacy is achieved, whatever the outcome of that review, by ensuring that diplomats who are sent to countries where persecution occurs receive training in religious literacy?
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On 20th June 2019 MPs asked questions of Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP, the Second Church Estates Commissioner. Questions were asked about serious youth violence, clergy recruitment in London, the contribution of cathedrals to the local economy, employee pay gap, responsible investments, mobile phone masts, and persecution of Christians:
The right hon. Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners, was asked—
Serious Youth Violence
Daniel Kawczynski (Shrewsbury and Atcham) (Con)
1. What steps the Church of England is taking to help tackle serious youth violence; and if she will make a statement. 
Vicky Foxcroft (Lewisham, Deptford) (Lab)
7. What steps the Church of England is taking to help tackle serious youth violence; and if she will make a statement. 
The Second Church Estates Commissioner (Dame Caroline Spelman): The Church was represented at the knife crime summit organised by the Prime Minister at No. 10 earlier this year, and the General Synod will be debating this subject at its session next month. There is no question but that this issue is of the utmost seriousness, as too many young lives are being lost.
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On 18th June 2019 the Bishop of Leeds, Rt Revd Nick Baines, received five written answers from Government, about religious freedom and the persecution of Christians:
The Lord Bishop of Leeds: HL16018 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their strategy for promoting and protecting freedom of religion or belief as an objective of UK foreign policy.
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