Bishop of Durham asks about Burundi, human rights, refugees and relations with Rwanda

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”

Bishop of Bristol on migrant tragedy: English Channel must not become a graveyard for children

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”

Bishop of Durham asks Government about its commitment to refugee resettlement scheme

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”

Bishop of Coventry asks about refugees from Myanmar and support for Rohingya communities in Southeast Asia

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”

Immigration and Social Security (EU Withdrawal) Bill 2020: Bishop of Southwark backs changes on child refugees, detention, documentation

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.

Continue reading “Immigration and Social Security (EU Withdrawal) Bill 2020: Bishop of Southwark backs changes on child refugees, detention, documentation”

Bishop of Southwark calls on Government to resume refugee resettlement programme

On 5th October 2020 Lord Foulkes of Cumnock asked the Government “whether they are planning (1) to establish asylum processing centres in British Overseas Territories, and (2) to house those who are seeking asylum on disused ferries; and, if so, how any such plans would comply with international obligations.” The Bishop of Southwark asked a further question:

The Lord Bishop of Southwark: My Lords, talk of Her Majesty’s Government possibly acquiring timeshares in property on the isle of Elba or anywhere else aside, it is worth noting that the Home Secretary yesterday stressed the importance of “safe and legal routes” to asylum in the United Kingdom. I was grateful to hear that. Since the Government have now determined that it is safe and appropriate to resume deportation flights from the UK, will the Minister confirm that they have decided to resume immediately the refugee settlement programme they suspended in March? If not, will she inform the House of the difference in criteria for holiday and deportation flights and for those seeking sanctuary in this country? Continue reading “Bishop of Southwark calls on Government to resume refugee resettlement programme”

Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill: Bishop of Durham supports amendments on detention, refugee family reunion and unaccompanied children

On 14th September 2020 the House of Lords considered amendments to the Government’s Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill, during its third day in Committee.

The Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler,  supported amendments to the Bill, on:

  •  Limiting the time a specified person can be detained for immigration purposes, and defining those purposes.
  • Family reunion for those seeking refugee status, and unaccompanied children

As is usual in Committee, the amendments were not pressed to a vote after debate, though some issues may be returned to again at a later stage. A transcript of the Bishop’s speeches is below, with extracts from the speeches of the Minister responding. The text of amendments 39, 40 and 48 supported by the Bishop are reproduced at the bottom. Continue reading “Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill: Bishop of Durham supports amendments on detention, refugee family reunion and unaccompanied children”

Immigration and Social Security Bill: Bishop of Durham supports amendments on right to work, cost of citizenship, impact on religious people

On 9th September 2020 the House of Lords considered amendments to the Government’s Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill, during its second day in Committee.

The Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, proposed and supported amendments to the Bill, on:

  • the right to work after six months for asylum claimants
  • ‘displaced talent visas’ for for skilled forcibly displaced people
  • reducing the cost of citizenship administration fees
  • assessing the impact of the Bill on religious people

As is usual in Committee, the amendments were not pressed to a vote after debate, though some issues may be returned to again at a later stage. A transcript of the Bishop’s speeches is below, with extracts from the speeches of others in support and the Minister responding: Continue reading “Immigration and Social Security Bill: Bishop of Durham supports amendments on right to work, cost of citizenship, impact on religious people”

Bishop of Bristol asks Government about status of refugee resettlement

On 3rd September 2020 the Bishop of Bristol, Rt Revd Vivienne Full, responded to a Government answer to an urgent question, on refugees.

The Lord Bishop of Bristol: My Lords, the Minister referred to the refugee resettlement scheme. However, as far as we can tell, refugee resettlement remains paused since March. Can she tell me what plans the Government have to launch the new global resettlement scheme and why they have continued deportations and not inward refugee resettlement?

Baroness Williams of Trafford (Con): The right reverend Prelate is absolutely right that it has been difficult since March. We took 52 people from Greece back in March but it has been incredibly difficult because of the lack of flights coming here. Of course, that has led, in some sense, to people reverting to trying to get here in small boats, and that is not at all the situation we want because they are simply being exploited. What was the right reverend Prelate’s second point?
The Lord Bishop of Bristol: The global resettlement scheme.
Baroness Williams of Trafford (Con): Obviously we will restart it as soon as it is practical and safe to do so.

Bishop of St Albans asks Government about child refugees in Greece

On 25th June the Rt Revd Alan Smith, Bishop of St Albans, received a written answer to a question on child refugees in Greece.

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: HL5618 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the conditions for child refugees in Greece; what humanitarian and medical aid they have provided to those refugees; and what plans they have, if any, to allow them to come to the UK.

Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks Government about child refugees in Greece”

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