Bishop of Coventry asks Government about plans for promoting freedom of religion and belief

On 18th April 2018 Lord Suri asked Her Majesty’s Government “what director level staffing changes, if any, they intend to make in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to provide greater capacity for that department to co-ordinate, oversee and deliver policy to advance freedom of religion and belief.” The Bishop of Coventry, Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, asked a follow-up question: 

The Lord Bishop of Coventry: My Lords, following on from that question, the Minister will be aware of the gathering at Lambeth Palace at the moment convened by my most reverend friend the Archbishop of Canterbury, which is bringing together parliamentarians and religious leaders from across the Commonwealth to help them work on good local practice. Would not the sort of director-level appointment mentioned in the Question ​to increase capacity help Her Majesty’s Government to partner with such initiatives to take them on to the next stage and provide co-ordination across the Commonwealth? Continue reading “Bishop of Coventry asks Government about plans for promoting freedom of religion and belief”

Bishop of Coventry asks Government about religious freedom in Sri Lanka

Coventry171123 bOn 26th March, the Bishop of Coventry, Rt Revd  Christopher Cocksworth, received answers to two questions on freedom of religion and belief in Sri Lanka:

The Bishop of Coventry: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to safeguard religious pluralism and to defend and promote freedom of religion or belief in Sri Lanka. Continue reading “Bishop of Coventry asks Government about religious freedom in Sri Lanka”

Bishop of Peterborough supports Conscientious Objection (Medical Activities) Bill

On 26th January 2018 Baroness O’Loan introduced her private member’s bill, the Conscientious Objection (Medical Activities) Bill [HL], for its Second Reading debate in the House of Lords. The Bishop of Peterborough, Rt Revd Donald Allister, spoke in support of it: 

The Lord Bishop of Peterborough: My Lords, yesterday, the River Restaurant downstairs helped us to celebrate Burns Night all day. I thoroughly enjoyed the Scotch broth at lunchtime, but I resisted the main course as I was eating out in the evening. I even resisted the whisky bread-and-butter pudding. The main course which I resisted was vegetarian haggis, celebrating Robert Burns in a way that respected the consciences of those who do not want to eat meat. That is a very proper and good thing to do. There is no legal requirement to provide vegetarian haggis, but it was welcome to many and I think that I would have enjoyed it. Continue reading “Bishop of Peterborough supports Conscientious Objection (Medical Activities) Bill”

Bishop of Coventry leads debate on the rights of religious and ethnic minorities in post-conflict Iraq

On 1th January 2017 the Bishop of Coventry, Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, led a debate in the House of Lords on the question: “to ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their post-conflict strategy for protecting the rights of religious and ethnic minorities in Iraq.” His speech is reproduced in full below, as is that of the Government minister responding. All speeches by those taking part in the debate can be read here.

The Lord Bishop of Coventry: My Lords, imagine what it was like, having been hounded out of one’s home when Daesh took control of Mosul, to be back there on Christmas Eve among 2,000 worshippers for the first celebration of the Mass in three and a half years. But then imagine the scene only hours afterwards— ​not only the church but also the city again almost entirely bereft of Christians because it is still not safe enough for them to return permanently.

What can be done to give Christians, Yazidis, Turkmen, Sabeans, Yarsanis, Shabaks and other vulnerable religious and ethnic communities in Iraq confidence that they have a future in their own land—and why is it vital for that land and that region that their confidence is regained? Continue reading “Bishop of Coventry leads debate on the rights of religious and ethnic minorities in post-conflict Iraq”

Bishop of Southwark asks about Israel – freedom of religion, Holy Land sites, church property

On 20th and 21st November the Bishop of Southwark, Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, received written answers to six questions on Israel – freedom of religion, Holy Land sites, church property and the Church Lands Bill before the Knesset:

The Lord Bishop of Southwark:

(i) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the Church Lands Bill which is being considered in the Israeli Knesset.

(ii) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of Israel regarding the Church Lands Bill which is being considered in the Israeli Knesset.

(iii) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of freedom of religion or belief in Israel.

(iv) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of recent alleged breaches of the Status Quo of the Holy Land sites in Jerusalem.

(v) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of Israel on the importance of respecting the Status Quo of the Holy Land sites in Jerusalem.

(vi) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of Israel on the importance of protecting Church property in the Old City of Jerusalem, following the decision in July of the Jerusalem District Court in the Jaffa Gate case. Continue reading “Bishop of Southwark asks about Israel – freedom of religion, Holy Land sites, church property”

Bishop of Leeds asks about British arms sales to Saudi Arabia, radicalisation and religious freedom

On 26th and 27th September, the Bishop of Leeds, Rt Revd Nick Baines, received written answers to four questions of Government about Saudi Arabia: on religious freedom, radicalisation & British arms sales.

(i) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of freedom of religion or belief in Saudi Arabia.

(ii) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they made to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Saudi Arabia, Abdel al-Jubeir, when he visited London on 4 September, concerning religious freedom, eliminating discriminatory enforcement of laws against religious minorities, and promoting respect and tolerance for minority Muslim and non-Muslim religious practices and beliefs.

(iii) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what guarantees, if any, they sought from the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Saudi Arabia, Abdel al-Jubeir, when he visited London on 4 September, that British arms sales to Saudi Arabia will only be used in accordance with international humanitarian law.

(iv) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they made to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Saudi Arabia, Abdel al-Jubeir, when he visited London on 4 September, concerning reports of financial and logistical support provided by Saudi Arabia to Daesh and other radical Sunni groups in the Middle East and Asia.  Continue reading “Bishop of Leeds asks about British arms sales to Saudi Arabia, radicalisation and religious freedom”

Bishop of Leeds asks Government about impact of sanctions, human rights and church demolitions in Sudan

On 18th and 20th September 2017 the Bishop of Leeds, Rt Revd Nick Baines, received written answers to five questions about Sudan, on the humanitarian impact of sanctions, the demolition of churches and the human rights situation:

 

The Lord Bishop of Leeds:

(i) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the humanitarian impact of sanctions on the people of Sudan.

(ii) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of the United States regarding the suspension or refinement of sanctions on Sudan.

(iii) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the efficacy of sanctions on Sudan.

(iv)  To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the human rights situation and current levels of humanitarian access in Sudan.

(v) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of Sudan regarding the demolition of churches built on land that has since been designated for buildings other than places of worship.

Continue reading “Bishop of Leeds asks Government about impact of sanctions, human rights and church demolitions in Sudan”