On 2nd December 2020 the Bishop of St Albans asked a question in the Lords during exchanges on a question from Lord Alton about the announcement by the Ethiopian Government on 30 November about military operations in the northern Tigray region:
On 25th November the Bishop of Durham received written answers to questions on the resumption of the refugee resettlement scheme:
The Lord Bishop of Durham: To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Williams of Trafford on 28 October (HL9221), what plans they have to ensure that once the refugee resettlement schemes are resumed, the commitment to resettle 20,000 vulnerable refugees through the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme will be fulfilled, in addition to the new Global Resettlement Scheme commitment of 5,000 per year. [HL10217] Continue reading “Bishop of Durham asks about plans for restarting refugee resettlement scheme”
On 10th November the Bishop of Durham received four written answers to questions on safe asylum routes and the outsourcing of asylum interviews:
The Lord Bishop of Durham: To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the answer by Baroness Williams of Trafford on 21 October (HL Deb, col 1598), when the review into “safe and legal routes to the UK for asylum seekers, refugees and their families” will be completed; and whether that review will be published. [HL9631] Continue reading “Bishop of Durham asks about safe asylum routes and the outsourcing of asylum interviews”
On 10th November the House of Lords considered the Government’s Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill. Lord Dubs pressed again an amendment on child refugees and family reunion, his earlier amendment to the Bill having been rejected in a vote in the House of Commons. The Bishop of Southwark spoke in support of the amendment. Lord Dubs did not press it to a vote, accepting some concessions from the Government in its place.
The Lord Bishop of Southwark: My Lords, I speak in favour of the amendment moved by the noble Lord, Lord Dubs. In doing so, I speak not only on my account but also in place of the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Durham, who is locked down in the north-east and therefore, because of the procedures for consideration of Commons amendments, is unable to speak on this amendment, although that had been very much his intention.
Family life and kin relationships are vital in many parts of the world to ensure survival. Even in the UK, family means the difference between misery, destitution and poor mental health and a life where, even in the most difficult circumstances, there is practical care, support and love. Thus, I, too, welcome the Government’s steps towards ensuring safe and legal routes, including the commitment in case of a no-deal Brexit, to pursue bilateral negotiations on arrangements for family reunion, which I trust they will seek to ensure are equivalent to the Dublin regulations. I welcome the Minister’s commitments and await with interest her further comments following what the noble Lord, Lord Dubs, just said.
However, a step in the right direction is not the end of the journey. Continue reading “Immigration Bill: Bishop of Southwark supports Dubs amendment on child refugees and family reunion”
On 2nd November 2020 the Bishop of Durham received answers to three written questions on Burundi, human rights, refugees and relations with Rwanda:
Burundi: Human Rights
The Lord Bishop of Durham: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they are taking in response to the report by the UN Human Rights Council Report of the Commission of Inquiry on Burundi, published on 16 September. [HL9364] Continue reading “Bishop of Durham asks about Burundi, human rights, refugees and relations with Rwanda”
On 29th October Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale asked the Government, “following the deaths of at least four people in the English Channel, what steps they are taking to protect asylum seekers and victims of human trafficking who are fleeing persecution and seeking refuge in the UK.”. The Bishop of Bristol asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of Bristol [V]: My Lords, as we have already heard, the death of anyone trying to reach the UK in search of safety is tragic, and the tragedy is multiplied when it is the death of a family. Save the Children is right to say that the English Channel must not become a graveyard for children. With that in mind, can the Minister update the House on the resumption of the refugee resettlement programme which was suspended in March? Continue reading “Bishop of Bristol on migrant tragedy: English Channel must not become a graveyard for children”
On 28th October the Bishop of Durham received a written answer to four questions on refugee resettlement:
The Lord Bishop of Durham:
(i) To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the answer by Baroness Williams of Trafford on 5 October (HL Deb, col 407), whether they have revised their aim of resettling 5,000 refugees in 2020/21 under the UK’s new resettlement scheme as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic; and, if so, what is the revised aim for resettlement this year. [HL9220]
(ii) To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Williams of Trafford on 14 September (HL7752), what discussions they have held with local authorities about their capacity to restart refugee resettlement as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic; and whether any local authorities have confirmed that they are ready to restart resettlement. [HL9221]
(iii) To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the final 232 refugees within the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme will be resettled in the UK when it is safe to do so. [HL9222]
(iv) To ask Her Majesty’s Government when they will announce their long term refugee resettlement commitment beyond 2021. [HL9223] Continue reading “Bishop of Durham asks Government about its commitment to refugee resettlement scheme”
On 27th October 2020 the Bishop of Coventry received written answers to questions on refugees from Myanmar and support for Rohingya communities in Southeast Asia:
The Lord Bishop of Coventry: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to provide (1) funding for, and (2) technical assistance, to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ Trust Fund for Humanitarian Relief Efforts to promote regional cooperation for states addressing irregular migration from Myanmar. [HL9119]
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon: The Government does not provide direct support to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ (ASEAN) Trust Fund for Humanitarian Relief Efforts. We do however provide broader technical assistance to the ASEAN humanitarian co-ordination centre to increase humanitarian capacity and co-ordination across ASEAN member states. Continue reading “Bishop of Coventry asks about refugees from Myanmar and support for Rohingya communities in Southeast Asia”
On 5th October 2020 the House of Lords considered amendments to the Government’s Immigration and Social Security (EU Withdrawal) Bill 2020 during the second day of its Report stage. The Bishop of Southwark spoke in favour of amendments to the Bill on
- Child refugees and family reunion
- Providing physical, not just digital, proof of settled and pre-settled status in the UK.
- Placing an upper limit of 28 days on the time an EEA or Swiss national may be held in immigration detention.
The texts of his speeches are below. He and ten other bishops voted on these and other amendments to the Bill and the details are recorded here.