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 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 6th June 2019 Baroness Cox asked the Government “what assessment they have made of recent events in Sudan, following attacks against protestors by Sudanese security forces.” The Bishop of Leeds, Rt Revd Nick Baines, asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of Leeds: My Lords, I was in Khartoum in January. I too pay tribute to the ambassador, whose communication on social media has been superb, despite internet problems. The other country involved is Egypt, which seems to have a vested interest in not putting too much pressure on Sudan. Can the Minister say anything about our conversations with Egypt and its influence over events in Sudan?
On the 22nd February 2018 Baroness Cox asked Her Majesty’s Government “what is their assessment of the situation in Sudan, with particular reference to violations of human rights and access to those in need of humanitarian aid”. The Bishop of Winchester, the Rt Revd Tim Dakin, asked a follow-up question about the arrest of Christian leaders and the demolition of churches and schools.
The Lord Bishop of Winchester: My Lords, since 2011 there have been reports that the Government in Sudan have arrested Christian leaders, demolished churches and prevented church properties from being registered. My Anglican colleagues from the Sudan advised me that church schools are able to open only four days a week, because the Government require that schools are closed on Fridays and Saturdays—of course, Sunday is a holy day for Christians. How much more can the Government ensure that the rights of religious minorities are respected 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.
On 23rd January 2017, Baroness Cox asked the Government “what assessment they have made of recent developments in Sudan.” The Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Paul Butler, asked a follow up question:
Bishop of Durham: My Lords, while recognising that improvements between the Anglican Church of Sudan and the Sudanese Government have occurred, it remains the case that, after over a year, there are two Sudanese pastors, one Czech aid worker and a Sudanese civil rights activist still in al-Huda prison in Omdurman under the death penalty. Human rights activists say that there is no case at all. What contact have Ministers with the Government of Sudan regarding these prisoners and the treatment of Christians more generally? Continue reading “Bishop of Durham raises cases of imprisoned Sudanese pastors”
On 6th July 2016, Baroness Cox asked Her Majesty’s Government “what is their assessment of the current situation in Sudan in the light of continuing military offensives and aerial bombardments by the Government of Sudan in South Kordofan, Blue Nile and Darfur”. The Bishop of Salisbury, Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam, asked a follow up question:
The Lord Bishop of Salisbury: My Lords, I should like to underline the points made by the noble Baroness in her opening question about the significance of deliberate and targeted terrorism by the Sudanese Government on their own people, particularly in the bombing in the Nuba mountains, where Anglican schools have been repeatedly destroyed. My own diocese, the diocese of Salisbury, has a link with what is now Sudan and South Sudan that goes back more than 40 years, and there is a delegation from the Anglican communion in Sudan this week. Will the Minister inform the House how the Government intend to continue to provide leadership in relation to humanitarian aid in this continuing crisis?
On the 4th March 2015 Baroness Cox asked Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of recent developments in Sudan, with particular reference to the continuing aerial bombardment of civilians in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states. The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd and Rt Hon Justin Welby, asked a supplementary question:
The Archbishop of Canterbury: My Lords, during two visits to South Sudan last year, both in Juba and in the fighting area, it was evident that there was widespread belief and evidence that the Government of Sudan were not only interfering in South Kordofan, Blue Nile and Darfur with these terrible acts, but seek further to destabilise the already terrible situation in South Sudan. What steps do this Government believe should be taken and what steps are they taking with the international community to stop this cross-border interference?
Baroness Northover: The cross-border area is again a very difficult area to be working in. Our sense of things in terms of South Sudan is that we have huge challenges there in trying to get the parties to some kind of agreement. The Government of Sudan themselves are playing a non-obstructive role generally speaking. However, given all the instability on the border that the most reverend Primate talks about, it is exceptionally difficult.
On 28th July 2014, Conservative Peer Baroness Hodgson of Abinger asked Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to ensure that any future peace settlement in South Sudan is inclusive. The Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a supplementary question:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, it is evident that the long-term process of finding an inclusive Sudanese-led reconciliation can begin only once hostilities cease and a political settlement and resolution is reached. This is why international diplomacy is so vital. Will the noble Lord tell the House what plans the Government have to address the current understaffing of the UK Sudan unit, which has a role in this?
Lord Wallace of Saltaire: My Lords, the number of staff in the UK Sudan unit has fluctuated over the past few months; my understanding is that it is now rather larger than it was two or three months ago. I do not think that we can wait until the fighting stops to begin negotiations; local fighting is likely to continue for some considerable time and we have to start to move to construct at least the basis of some form of government now.