Bishop of St Albans asks about situation of Christians in China

On 28th May 2019 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, received a written answer to a question he had asked about Chinese Christians:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: HL15776 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the situation of Chinese Christians following reports that the government of China has labelled the expansion of Christianity a “grave harm to Chinese national security”.

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Bishop of Coventry asks Government about children in Iraq, terrorism in Sri Lanka and religious freedom in Pakistan

On the 23 May 2019 the Bishop of Coventry, the Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, received three written answers from Government to questions he had asked on (i) children in Iraq, (ii) terrorism in Sri Lanka and (iii) religious freedom in Pakistan.
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The Lord Bishop of Coventry: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of reports that some 45,000 children in Iraqi displacement camps are without civil ID documentation; and what representations they intend to make to the government of Iraq to ensure that those children are not excluded from Iraqi citizenship and society in the future. HL15663 Continue reading “Bishop of Coventry asks Government about children in Iraq, terrorism in Sri Lanka and religious freedom in Pakistan”

Bishop of Rochester welcomes protective security funding for places of worship

17.10 RochesterOn 7th May 2019 Baroness Williams of Trafford repeated a Statement by the Home Secretary on protective security funding for places of worship. The Bishop of Rochester, Rt Revd James Langstaff, responded to the statement: 

The Lord Bishop of Rochester: My Lords, I too am very grateful to the Minister for repeating the Statement from the other place. From these Benches, I welcome it and echo some of the things that have already been said by the noble Lord, Lord Rosser, and the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, not least about the wider context, although I recognise that this Statement has a limited focus.

The Minister has already observed the tragic events in Christchurch, Sri Lanka and San Diego. It seems to me that one of the learnings from those events is the impossibility of predicting where, or even when, a dreadful event might occur. With that in mind, I am particularly grateful for the broadening of the eligibility criteria in relation to potential grants from the fund, whereby it is now not necessary for places of worship to have experienced an incident of hate crime in order to make an application. That is an important loosening around the unpredictability of where things might occur.

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Bishop of St Albans asks whether police receive guidance or training on dealing with street preachers

On 1st May the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, received a written answer to a question on guidance to police about street preachers, and religious literacy training:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: HL15288 To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Williams of Trafford on 3 April (HL14707), whether the Home Office provides any particular guidance to police officers in relation to freedom of speech and street preachers; whether police officers receive training on religious literacy; and if so, whether any such training is mandatory.

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Bishop of Leeds responds to Government statement on Sri Lanka

On 24th April 2019 Baroness Goldie repeated a Statement  by the Foreign Secretary on Sri Lanka. The Bishop of Leeds, Rt Revd Nick Baines, responded to the statement: 

18.12.05 Leeds Brexit deal debateThe Lord Bishop of Leeds: My Lords, my diocese, the diocese of Leeds, has had a link with Sri Lanka for nearly 40 years and I am in daily contact with the church out there. I urge the Minister and the Foreign Office to take seriously the difference between ethnic and religious strife, because we cannot always draw a straight line from people being of different religious practice or conviction to particular actions. The civil war, for example, was much more complex than is sometimes represented outside Sri Lanka. What has happened in the last few days is very different; it is international. We need to understand more about the impact on the Muslim community in Sri Lanka, as it has not been a pleasant experience for them. It is not quite as simple as we sometimes think, and I would urge caution in the way that we represent the current issue. Continue reading “Bishop of Leeds responds to Government statement on Sri Lanka”

Bishop of Gloucester asks Government what consultation takes place with religious communities to inform asylum decision making

On 9th April 2019 the Bishop of Gloucester, Rt Revd Rachel Treweek, received written answers to two questions about asylum decisions and consultation with religious communities:

The Lord Bishop of Gloucester:

(i) (HL14943) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what processes they operate for monitoring and reviewing decisions on asylum claims.

(ii) (HL14942 ) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what consultation they have undertaken with religious communities to inform decision-making processes for asylum claims.

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Bishop of St Albans asks Government about freedom of religion in China

On 4th April 2019 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a question he had tabled on religious freedom in China. The exchanges, and the follow-up questions from other Members, are below:

China: Religious Freedom

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their current assessment of freedom of religion in China.

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon) (Con): My Lords, there are several recognised religions in China, with tens of millions of practising Christians, Muslims and Buddhists, among others. However, we are deeply concerned about developing restrictions on freedom of religion or belief in China, including reports that authorities are tightening control over how certain religions are practised. At the United Nations Human Rights Council last month, I raised directly our concerns about restrictions on freedom of religion or belief in China, including on Muslims and Christians in Xinjiang.

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: I thank the Minister for his reply. There are deeply worrying reports coming out of China, not least about persecuting the Christian churches there—an ancient Christian church there was founded in the 7th century. Will he comment particularly on the developing situation concerning Uighur Muslims and the development of the network of re-education camps in Xinjiang province? What representations have Her Majesty’s Government made and what are they planning to do?

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