On 30th April and 4th May 2020 the Bishop of Coventry, Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, received written answers to questions on refugees in Syria and around the world and vulnerability to coronavirus:
The Lord Bishop of Coventry: HL3255 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they are taking to limit the vulnerability of refugees around the world to the COVID-19 pandemic. Continue reading “Bishop of Coventry asks about impact of coronavirus on refugees in Syria and worldwide”
On 30th April 2020 during a virtual sitting of the House of Lords, the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a question he had tabled about the situation in Idlib, Syria. The response, his follow-up and other questions from Members is reproduced below:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the ongoing conflict in Idlib, Syria.
The Question was considered in a Virtual Proceeding via video call.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Department for International Development (Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon) (Con): My Lords, we welcome the ongoing ceasefire in Idlib and call on all sides to abide by their obligations under the Russia-Turkey agreement of 5 March and to heed UN envoy Pedersen’s calls for a permanent, nationwide cessation of hostilities. We also remain deeply concerned about the humanitarian situation in Idlib, with 846,000 people still displaced and at high risk of Covid-19. We have therefore further increased our humanitarian response.
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: I am grateful to the Minister for his response but, with 84 hospitals destroyed, some commentators are suggesting that in Idlib alone 100,000 people are at risk of coronavirus. What are Her Majesty’s Government doing to ensure that we have medical equipment, particularly ventilators, in that country to prevent what could be another humanitarian crisis?
Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans raises potential Covid-19 humanitarian crisis in Syria”
On 10th January 2020, Andrew Selous MP, the newly appointed Second Church Estates Commissioner, answered a written question from Jim Shannon MP, about Kurdish and other persecuted Christians:
On 5th December 2018 Baroness D’Souza asked Her Majesty’s Government “what plans they have to support and provide resources for reconstruction programmes in Syria.” The Bishop of Coventry, Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of Coventry: My Lords, given the powerful words of the most reverend Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury and His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales at yesterday’s service in Westminster Abbey to mark the contribution of Christians to the Middle East, and in particular His Royal Highness’s moving account of Christians returning to Syria to rebuild not only their homes and schools but their gifts to society—schools, orphanages and hospitals—can the Minister give an assurance that responsible organisations that provide support for returning Christians and other minorities also have the support of the Government? Will the Minister join me in commending the Muslim children who will be joining Christian children to light 1 million candles on New Year’s Day as a sign of their hope for their country and for a shared future together? Continue reading “Bishop of Coventry asks Government to support organisations helping Christians and other minorities returning to Syria”
On 23rd July 2018, the Bishop of Coventry, the Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, received a written answer to a question on refugee resettlement:
The Bishop of Coventry: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of why the UN High Commissioner for Refugees has referred so few Christians, Yazidis and other Syrian religious minorities for resettlement in the UK; whether any members of those minorities were resettled in the UK in the first quarter of 2018; and if not, why not. Continue reading “Bishop of Coventry asks why few Christians, Yazidis and Syrian religious minorities have been resettled in UK”
On 7th June 2018 Lord Scriven led a debate in the House of Lords on the motion ‘that this House takes note of the report of the Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, An Inspection of the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme.’ The Bishop of Carlisle, Rt Revd James Newcome, spoke in the debate:
The Lord Bishop of Carlisle: My Lords, I thank the noble Lord, Lord Scriven, for securing this debate. I also extend my thanks to the inspectors for their helpful report. While I am about it, I thank the noble Lord, Lord Ramsbotham, for his kind words.
Most of all, I thank all those who have contributed to the good aspects of the vulnerable persons resettlement scheme thus far: Home Office officials, particularly the resettlement, asylum support and integration directorate; local authorities and devolved Administrations; refugee charities, and, not least, faith and community groups who have played their part in offering a very warm welcome. Expanding our resettlement offer from 750 people a year to the number under VPRS has required compassion, courage and not a small degree of competence. Continue reading “Bishop of Carlisle welcomes progress made under Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme”
On 19th April 2018 the House of Lords debated a Government motion “that this House takes note of the national security situation.” The Bishop of Coventry, Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, took part in the debate:
The Lord Bishop of Coventry: My Lords, I, too, am grateful to the Minister for bringing this debate forward at this pivotal time in our national security and foreign policy. It is a great honour to follow the noble Lord, Lord Owen, and other distinguished speakers with their panoramic perspectives. Given the timing of the debate, I shall offer some reflections on the Syrian situation, both the danger it represents for national security and the role it might play in recasting relations with Russia, even in the stressful times described so clearly by the noble and gallant Lord, Lord Stirrup. Continue reading “Bishop of Coventry urges more effort on diplomatic solution to conflict in Syria”
On 16th April Baroness Evans of Bowes Park repeated a statement from the Prime Minister on the UK’s military action in Syria. The Bishop of Coventry, the Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, responded to the statement:
The Bishop of Coventry: My Lords, it was very good to hear that assurance from the Leader of the House on the commitment to a long-term diplomatic solution. I Continue reading “Bishop of Coventry speaks on military intervention in Syria”
On the 9th April 2018 the Bishop of Southwark, the Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, received written answers to three questions about Syria:
The Bishop of Southwark: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking (1) to ensure that there is no reduction in the level of UK funding to alleviate the humanitarian crisis in Syria, and (2) to aid the relief effort in neighbouring countries in 2018–19. Continue reading “Bishop of Southwark receives written answers to questions on Syria”
On 20th March 2018 Lord Roberts of Llandudno asked Her Majesty’s Government “what assessment they have made of the changing situation in Syria.” The Bishop of Winchester, Rt Revd Tim Dakin, asked a follow up question:
The Lord Bishop of Winchester: My Lords, will the Minister give an assurance that in the provision of humanitarian aid to those displaced in this conflict the Department for International Development’s understanding of vulnerability includes religious persecution? Will he also give an assurance that the Government will continue to ensure that the UNHCR’s procedures and criteria for determining refugee status recognise religious persecution as a distinct category? Continue reading “Bishop of Winchester asks about religious persecution as category for refugee status”