On 5th April 2017, Baroness Northover asked Her Majesty’s Government “how they are intending to respond to the chemical attack seemingly carried out by the Syrian Government on civilians in the town of Khan Sheikhoun.” The Bishop of Peterborough, the Rt Revd Donald Allister, asked a follow up question about future international efforts to rebuild Syria after peace is secured in the area.
The Lord Bishop of Peterborough My Lords, as the most reverend Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury said yesterday, we on these Benches mourn with the people of Idlib and we pray for justice and an end to violence. However, if and when peace is finally secured in the region, the scale of suffering and damage experienced by the people of Syria over the past six years will demand enormous and costly international effort if Syria is to be rebuilt. Will Her Majesty’s Government commit not just to supporting the people of Syria in the short term but to supporting the decades-long process of restoration that will inevitably be needed once the present crisis is over? Continue reading
On 9th February 2017 the House of Lords debated a motion from Crossbench Peer Baroness Cox “To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of recent developments in Syria.” The Bishop of Coventry, Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, spoke in the debate:
The Lord Bishop of Coventry: My Lords, I thank the noble Baroness for securing this debate. My main reason for speaking is to draw your Lordships’ attention and, especially, Her Majesty’s Government, to a recent report by the World Council of Churches, The Protection Needs of Minorities in Syria and Iraq. It is a serious piece of field study that has gathered the first-hand views of some 4,000 people, over 2,000 of them Syrians from minority communities: Christians, Yazidis, Druze, Turkmen and many others. I was in Baghdad and Irbil last month as part of a World Council of Churches delegation to test the findings of the report with community leaders and members, as well as with UNAMI and locally based NGOs, and confirm the soundness of its recommendations. I have every reason to believe that the report’s analysis of the Syrian situation is as credible as we found its Iraqi analysis to be. Therefore I ask the Minister that the Government engage with this robust report. Continue reading
On the 21st December 2016, the Bishop of Coventry, the Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, received answers to written questions concerning visa applications from Syria and Iraq and the refusal of visas to Archbishops.
The Lord Bishop of Coventry: To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have any plans to review why the Archbishop of Mosul, the Archbishop of St Matthews and the Archbishop of Homs and Hama were refused visas to travel to the UK from Iraq and Syria to attend the consecration of the Syriac Orthodox Cathedral in London. Continue reading
On 20th December, the Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Paul Butler, received an answer to a written question conerning the resettlement of Syrian refugees.
The Lord Bishop of Durham: To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many refugees have been resettled through the Syrian vulnerable person resettlement scheme and community sponsorship scheme in each region of the UK. Continue reading
On the 13th October 2016 Baroness Cox asked the Government “what is their assessment of recent developments in Syria”. The Bishop of Norwich asked a follow up question.
The Lord Bishop of Norwich: My Lords, the Minister will be aware that just 1.5% of those admitted so far under the Government’s Syrian refugee resettlement scheme from refugee camps are Christians, despite Christians making up 10% of the Syrian population, largely because Christians find the refugee camps themselves far from safe for them. What will the Government do to prevent their own scheme unfairly discriminating against one of Syria’s most persecuted and desperate and fastest-disappearing minorities? Continue reading
On Wednesday 15th June 2016 the House of Lords debated the Report from the European Union Committee The EU Action Plan against migrant smuggling (4th Report, Session 2015–16, HL Paper 46). The Bishop of Sheffield, Rt Revd Steven Croft, spoke in the debate:
The Lord Bishop of Sheffield: My Lords, I welcome the two reports before us in all their complexity and I thank the members of the European Union Committee for their expertise, which is already evident in this debate. I particularly welcome the committee’s recommendation in paragraph 8 that the mandate of Operation Sophia is reviewed and renewed, along with the EU’s subsequent decisions. Clearly, this operation alone cannot be the complete answer to the challenges that we face. However, the European Union must not return to the position that it held before the Lampedusa tragedy of apparent indifference to those who seek to cross the Mediterranean in danger of their lives. Nor can we neglect the spread of people-smuggling on and across our borders. Continue reading
On 12th May 2016 Baroness Sheehan asked Her Majesty’s Government “what evidence they have to support their claim that “pull factors” are responsible for the mass movement of people from the Middle East and North Africa in recent years.” The Bishop of Southwark, Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, asked a follow up question:
The Lord Bishop of Southwark: My Lords, what possibilities does Her Majesty’s Government see for effective governance in Libya and for the much-needed increase in giving by our international partners to maintain the displaced populations of Iraq and Syria, which will impact on the movement of people and, most importantly, make a positive contribution to their lives? Continue reading