On 13th July Lord Chidgey asked Her Majesty’s Government “what assessment they have made of the impact of (1) the COVID-19 pandemic, and (2) desert locusts, on food security in countries in east Africa, and in particular in (a) Sudan, and (b) South Sudan”. The Rt Revd Nick Holtam, Bishop of Salisbury asked a follow up question, focusing on overseas aid.
The Lord Bishop of Salisbury: With the economy of Sudan collapsing and inflation rocketing, the Anglican Archbishop of Khartoum said recently that people would rather die of Covid-19 than of hunger. In South Sudan the Anglican Archbishop of Juba said that mortality rates were already high and, in response to the virus, hygiene and social isolation are difficult—indeed, almost impossible. The diocese of Salisbury has a long-standing partnership with the Anglican churches in those countries and we have launched an emergency appeal this month for at least £50,000 for hygiene and food. What are the British Government doing to support the improvement of hygiene and food in those countries? What does the Minister think we are learning about the motivation for our giving aid to these countries?
On 18th March 2020 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Andrew Selous MP, answered seven written questions from Jim Shannon MP, on carbon reduction, cashless donations, South Sudan, Uganda, lead theft and graveyard records:
Jim Shannon (Strangford): 29873 To ask the right hon. Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what steps the Church of England is taking to use its investments to support business transitioning to a low carbon economy.
On 13th February 2020 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Andrew Selous MP, answered written questions from Jim Shannon MP, on carbon emissions, religious freedom, strategic development funding, church planting, green investments, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan, the Primates’ Meeting, new technologies, marriage and family life.
On 29th January 2020 the Earl of Sandwich asked Her Majesty’s Government “what priority they give to Sudan and South Sudan among their foreign policy objectives.” The Archbishop of Canterbury, Most Revd and Rt Hon Justin Welby, asked a follow up question:
The Archbishop of Canterbury: My Lords, the Minister will be aware of the meeting in the Vatican last April of religious and political leaders from South Sudan, including the President and leading rebel and opposition groups; and of the Pope’s announcement when we met last November that he intended to make a joint visit himself, with me and a former Moderator of the Church of Scotland, at the end of March if the transitional Government had been established by that time in Juba. The period for establishing that Government runs out towards the end of February. May we have assurance that with the whole thing in the balance—and given what we heard from the noble Baroness, Lady Cox—Her Majesty’s Government will apply carrot and stick vigorously, and give full attention over the next four weeks to enabling this new Government to happen solidly in Juba, including the presence of leading rebel members such as Riek Machar, to get a framework for peace? Continue reading “Archbishop asks Government about help to build peace in South Sudan”
On 7th January 2020 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, spoke during the second day of debate on the Queen’s Speech, on the topic of the integrated security, defence and foreign policy review:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, I want to make a few comments on the integrated security, defence and foreign policy review, which is a welcome development in the Government’s plans for the next five years.
I note that the Government will consider the,
“freedom of speech, human rights and the rule of law”
of foreign nations and how this interacts with our own interests. I hope that the Minister will agree with these Benches that any such review should also include religious persecution, drawing on the work and recent report of the Foreign Office, assisted by the Bishop of Truro, on the persecution of Christians.
On 6th August 2019 the Bishop of Coventry, Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, received a written answer from Government, in reply to a question about South Sudan:
The Lord Bishop of Coventry: HL17388 To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of the upcoming deadline for forming South Sudan’s Transitional Government, what steps they are taking to encourage the parties and regional powers in that region to (1) unify security forces, and 2) clarify, with the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, Dr Riek Machar’s freedom to travel back to South Sudan.
On 4th July 2018 Lord Curry of Kirkharle led a debate in the House of Lords, “To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to address the current humanitarian crisis in South Sudan and to support the delivery of a lasting peace settlement and longer term economic and social development.” The Bishop of Rochester, Rt Revd James Langstaff, spoke in the debate:
The Lord Bishop of Rochester: My Lords, I too am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Curry, for bringing forward this debate, I apologise to your Lordships for scurrying in slightly late at the beginning, having been taken short, as it were, by the rapidity of the previous business.
A year or more ago, I was passing through Nairobi airport, dressed not quite like this but recognisably as a bishop. A gentleman also clad in a purple shirt was approaching down a corridor. Both of us having time to spare before our flights, we fell into conversation. My new friend was a bishop from South Sudan and was on his way home after a meeting of Church leaders from across Africa—from places of conflict and from places that were recipients of refugees from those conflict areas. Our conversation was one that will stick in my mind for the rest of my life, I suspect, as he shared with me the reality of existence in his diocese. He and his colleagues had been discussing the Church’s role in peacemaking and reconciliation in those settings.
On 19th July 2017 the Earl of Sandwich asked Her Majesty’s Government “what further action they are taking to address the ongoing refugee crisis and acute food emergency in East Africa.” The Bishop of Salisbury, Rt Revd Nick Holtham, asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of Salisbury: My Lords, I thank the Minister for his responses. In the case of South Sudan, where conflict is the main cause of the crisis but it is also being further exacerbated by low rainfall, what is the UK doing in relation to internally displaced people? Perhaps I may also ask him to comment on the very different example of Burundi. Is this also an opportunity for him to say a bit more about how UK overseas aid is not a charity but is in our enlightened self-interest? Continue reading “Bishop of Salisbury asks Government about refugee and food crisis in South Sudan”
On the 3rd July 2017, the Bishop of Truro, the Rt Revd Tim Thornton contributed to Baroness D’Souza’s debate: That this House takes note of the case for measuring the impact of the United Kingdom’s development aid budget. In a wide-ranging speech, the Bishop spoke of the importance of guarding against thinking about aid spending simply as a financial investment.
The Lord Bishop of Truro: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Baroness, Lady D’Souza, for initiating this debate on such a very important and topical issue.
As no doubt we will hear from other speakers, the UK is known around the world as a leader in international development. It has achieved great results during the past two decades. I have no doubt of the importance of the case for measuring the impact of our development aid. I want to underline that case and also, perhaps more importantly for me, to ensure that we try to measure the right things if we can and do not understand aid only as a financial investment which can be measured simply in financial terms. I fear that too many people in our debate will go immediately from talking about aid to talking about money and finances rather than going back and thinking about what the word “development” might mean. It seems that development is in itself a fascinating idea in our world today with perhaps an assumption that other countries are less developed than we are. We must be careful about the assumptions and presuppositions we make when we use the word.
On 2nd March 2017 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Dame Caroline Spelman MP, answered oral and written questions in the House of Commons, covering wi-fi in churches, art exhibitions in churches, the Anglican Church in South Sudan, the House of Bishops’ Report on Human Sexuality, and church building repairs. A full transcript follows: