The Lord Bishop of Coventry: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the decision by the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation to ban the Jehovah’s Witnesses on the grounds that the group is considered to be an extremist organisation.
On 26th April 2017 Baroness Barker asked Her Majesty’s Government “what action they are planning to take in response to reports of the persecution and detention of LGBT citizens in Chechnya.” The Bishop of Newcastle, Rt Revd Christine Hardman, asked a follow up question:
The Lord Bishop of Newcastle: My Lords, what support have Her Majesty’s Government provided and what support do they intend to provide to the Russian LGBT Network, which is helping gay men flee Chechnya?
On 21st March 2017 the Government’s Armed Forces Act (Continuation) Order 2017 was laid before Parliament with a motion to approve. The Bishop of Leeds, the Rt Revd Nick Baines spoke in the debate, commenting on the UK’s relationship with Russia.
The Lord Bishop of Leeds My Lords, I hesitate to follow such eloquent speeches on so much detail, but I want to make one or two general points about a more specific area. I do so from an interest that began when I was a Soviet specialist at GCHQ in a previous incarnation, although I realise that that is probably not the right religious phrase to use.
It still seems to me that an SDSR should enable us to be flexible enough to cope with whatever changes are likely to come. My fear, which I have expressed in the House before, remains that in 15 to 20 years’ time we may end up with a force that meets the demands of now but perhaps not the demands of the situation 15 or 20 years down the line because the world changes so much. When I left GCHQ, the Soviet Union was intact, and we see what has changed since then. Therefore, I want to focus on Russia in particular.
“We need a more adequate humanitarian response to the human suffering resulting from the conflict, and to support and strengthen the efforts of the churches and faith communities of Ukraine for justice and peace.” – Bishop of St Albans, 24/3/15
On 24th March 2015 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, took part in a debate tabled by Lord Tugendhat “that this House takes note of the Report of the European Union Committee on The EU and Russia: before and beyond the crisis in Ukraine (6th Report, HL Paper 115)”.
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, I add my congratulations on the maiden speech of the noble Earl, Lord Oxford and Asquith, and I thank the noble Lord, Lord Tugendhat, for securing this debate, which provides a valuable space in which to explore the multifaceted and fast-changing situation in the region. The EU Committee’s report has opened a welcome opportunity to reassess the UK’s relationship with both Russia and Ukraine on a bilateral level and as part of the EU.
On 26th February 2015, the Bishop of Worcester, the Rt Revd John Inge, received answers to two written questions, on the subject of security in Russia and Eastern Europe.
The Lord Bishop of Worcester: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking, as a member of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, to bring about renewed discussions with Russia on a possible Euro-Atlantic security community. [HL5013]
My Lords, we must not forget those Ukrainians living in Crimea who now find themselves under the Russian state. Could the Minister update us on what representations have been made on their behalf and, in particular, whether the OSCE monitors have made any progress in gaining access and finding out what is going on?
On 13th October 2014, Lord Spicer asked Her Majesty’s Government what steps they took to encourage negotiations between the two sides at the start of the conflict in Ukraine. The Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a supplementary question:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, as well as seeking a peaceful resolution to the ongoing conflict in Donetsk and Luhansk, it is vital that we do not forget those Ukrainians who remained in Crimea and now find themselves under the Russian state. Can the Minister tell us what representations have been made on their behalf, and what progress, if any, has been made by the OSCE monitors in gaining access to Crimea?