On 4th November 2014, Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale asked Her Majesty’s Government what support they will provide to the United Nations mission in the Central African Republic. The Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Revd Graham James, asked a supplementary question:
The Lord Bishop of Norwich: My Lords, given the widespread violation of both women and children in this tragic conflict, will the Minister indicate whether there are ways in which the Government could extend the success of the Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative to the Central African Republic?
Baroness Anelay of St Johns: The right reverend Prelate makes a very important point. The work done by my noble friends in the Foreign Office and DfID this summer is bearing good results but we need to be able to take those further forward. I listened to what he said and I will certainly take his views back to the FCO.
The Lord Bishop of Wakefield: My Lords, I, too, congratulate the noble Baroness, Lady Prosser, on securing this debate. I reassure noble Lords that I am not speaking simply to bring a modicum of gender balance to the Chamber.
Many years ago now, when we were living in the East Midlands, my wife was a volunteer at a women’s refuge. She was scrupulous in maintaining confidentiality about those who used the refuge. None the less, on occasion, she would return home shocked and distressed at the violence that women had experienced, even here in our own country. It was a phenomenon that did not relate to just one stratum of society. Continue reading “Bishop of Wakefield calls for close links with civil society to end violence against women”
“It is not surprising that the violence and insecurity that now plagues this country has hampered the delivery of humanitarian aid. As a result, local faith groups and a few national and international NGOs are the primary responders” – Bishop of Wakefield, 18.11.13
On 18th November 2013, Conservative Peer Baroness Berridge led a short debate to ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the security and humanitarian situation in the Central African Republic and the Great Lakes region of Africa. The Bishop of Wakefield, the Rt Revd Stephen Platten, took part in the debate, focusing his remarks on the need to sanction the perpetrators of violence in the Central African Republic and the urgent need to tackle sexual violence in conflict.
The Lord Bishop of Wakefield: My Lords, I warmly congratulate the noble Baroness, Lady Berridge, for securing this debate and for introducing it with such clarity of purpose. Those of us of a certain age will remember graphically the tragedy of the Congo, going all the way back to independence itself. This was followed by the Katanga breakaway movement and the instability there, and the subsequent tragedies made the entire Great Lakes region a terrible, open wound on our common humanity. As we know, that conflict, which began all those years ago, continues in a number of countries. Continue reading “Bishop of Wakefield urges proactive response to crisis in Central African Republic”
On 25th July 2013, the Bishop of Derby received written answers to questions on the topics of food banks and sexual violence in overseas conflicts. The original questions and their answers are reproduced below.
The Lord Bishop of Derby: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what incentives are provided to supermarkets to donate waste food to food banks at the end of trading.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord De Mauley): The Government does not currently offer incentives to supermarkets to redistribute surplus food. We do however recognise the good work of organisations that redistribute surplus food to provide access to nutritional meals for those who may otherwise struggle. In addition, most major retailers already have partnerships with redistribution charities. In 2012, Defra held a meeting with retailers and food distribution charities to explore the current barriers to redistribution. The Waste and Resources Action Programme is working with Fareshare and FoodCycle to deliver a trial to increase food redistribution from retail stores.
Overseas Conflict: Sexual Violence
The Lord Bishop of Derby: To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Northover on 9 July (WA35), what consideration has been given to inviting religious leaders from recipient countries to attend the high level event in the autumn designed to mobilise global leadership to prevent sexual violence in conflict.
Baroness Northover: The Call to Action event in the autumn will highlight the actions the international community needs to take for the protection of women and girls in emergencies. The UK’s commitment to addressing sexual violence in conflict and, more broadly, in tackling the many forms of violence against women and girls that manifest themselves in emergencies. Preparations for the event are underway and officials are considering what role religious leaders might play.
The Lord Bishop of Derby: To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Northover on 9 July (WA35), whether the proposed technical training and guidance for field staff and advisers will include advice on how to engage with religious communities when providing humanitarian support to the victims of sexual violence in conflict.
Baroness Northover: The guidance and training for DfID advisers and staff is based on the United Nations Inter-Agency Standing Committee Guidelines for Gender-based Violence Interventions in Humanitarian Settings. These guidelines draw attention to the role that religious leaders and groups can play in the provision of psychological and social support, and in encouraging survivors of violence to seek appropriate care.