“Notable cases have caught public attention, but they are the tip of a dark and deadly iceberg of often hidden harm to women, part and parcel of a wider picture of human rights abuse, societal vulnerability and underdevelopment that needs our persistent attention”- Bishop of Coventry, 11/6/14.
On 11th June 2014 in the ninth and final contribution to the debate on the Queen’s Speech from the Lords Spiritual, the Bishop of Coventry, Rt Rev Christopher Cocksworth, spoke on foreign affairs. He focused on n violence and those suffering persecution for their religious beliefs. The Bishop commended the Government for its efforts to combat sexual violence, but questioned the Government’s focus on the OIC-led defamation of religion initiative. He also pressed the Government to help resolve the problem of political factionalism within the Syrian opposition.
The Lord Bishop of Coventry: My Lords, I should like to comment on four themes of the Minister’s inspiring opening speech. First, on gender-based violence, I join the noble Lord, Lord Collins, and other noble Lords in commending the Government’s excellent work, in particular that of the Foreign Secretary. As we have heard, gender-based violence is pervasive, not only in the extreme evil of wartime rape but in other appalling examples of oppression that have been mentioned, including recent incidents in Nigeria, Pakistan, Sudan, Somalia and, if I may add, the recent gang rape and subsequent hanging of three young girls in India. Continue reading “Bishop of Coventry focuses on sexual violence, religious persecution and Syria in Lords response to Queen’s Speech”
The Lord Bishop of Wakefield: My Lords, I, too, congratulate the noble Baroness, Lady Prosser, on securing this debate. I reassure noble Lords that I am not speaking simply to bring a modicum of gender balance to the Chamber.
Many years ago now, when we were living in the East Midlands, my wife was a volunteer at a women’s refuge. She was scrupulous in maintaining confidentiality about those who used the refuge. None the less, on occasion, she would return home shocked and distressed at the violence that women had experienced, even here in our own country. It was a phenomenon that did not relate to just one stratum of society. Continue reading “Bishop of Wakefield calls for close links with civil society to end violence against women”
On 6th December 2013, the Bishop of Derby spoke during the Second Reading of Baroness Howe’s Online Safety Bill. He drew a parallel with the need for a change of culture in the banking industry, arguing for a change of culture in the entertainment industry away from violence, extremism and exploitation.
The Lord Bishop of Derby: My Lords, I, too, thank and congratulate the noble Baroness, Lady Howe, for and on her persistence in steering us in what I think we all see is the right direction. Much has been said, so I will just pick up a couple of themes and will then pursue a particular point and ask the Minister about. Noble Lords have referred to the Prime Minister’s speeches on this area. If you read those speeches, part of their rationale is because he wants to put the family at the centre of a stable society. The family is about a web of mutual relationships—it is about mutuality, not about exploitation. That is the issue that we have to get hold of very clearly. We have heard from many noble Lords about how pornography is exploitative in every way. We have heard about its harmful effects on young people especially, about understandings of sex, how boys are led to see that sex is about having power over women, and how girls are led to see that sex is about performing in a certain kind of way. It causes very damaging ideas about body image. We heard from the noble Lord, Lord Alton, about the objectification of women and violence against women.
Continue reading “Bishop of Derby calls for culture change in entertainment industry”
On 25th November 2013, the Labour Peer Baroness Gould of Potternewton asked Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to prevent rape and violence against women and girls. The Bishop of Wakefield, the Rt Revd Stephen Platten, asked a supplementary question.
The Lord Bishop of Wakefield: My Lords, following a debate that I was able to secure on a related issue back in March, more than 60 bishops around the country are today supporting the campaign to end gender-based violence, and are visiting on this day a large number of projects up and down the country to support the cause. I apologise that, in the rush to get here, I have no white ribbon. Could the Minister inform the House what additional action the Government are taking to implement the agreed conclusion from this year’s UN Commission on the Status of Women, which focused on the ending of violence against women?
Lord Taylor of Holbeach: I congratulate my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary on his role in ensuring that 135 countries have signed up to the agreement on the use of rape as a weapon of war. This is a significant development, and shows that these arguments are not just confined to this country. Discussions that we are having here have raised awareness throughout the world.
On 21st November 2013, the Bishop of Derby, the Rt Revd Alastair Redfern, and the Bishop of Wakefield, the Rt Revd Stephen Platten, took part in a debate on human rights, led by Lord Alton of Liverpool. The Bishop of Derby spoke about the role of women within society and religious institutions. He particularly focused on the objectification of women in magazines and the treatment of women in India. The Bishop of Wakefield spoke of the need for a greater engagement on the subject of the right to the freedom of religion, calling on the Government to develop a more positive approach towards religious freedom.
The Lord Bishop of Derby: My Lords, I, too, congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Alton, on securing this debate, and I also associate myself with the remarks of the noble Lord, Lord Selkirk.
Many of the pictures painted are dramatic and challenging, and I invite the House to think a little about the context that we are in and how we might approach some of these huge issues. The Government have identified six key priority areas, including women and freedom of religion, and those are the two things that I will look at in particular. We are in a world where we have ideals and fall short of them, and need to negotiate between the two. Continue reading “Bishops of Derby and Wakefield take part in debate about Human Rights”
On 30th July 2013, the Bishop of Derby, the Rt Revd Alastair Redfern, reveived an answer to a written question on the subject of violence against women.
The Lord Bishop of Derby: To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Northover on 9 July (WA35), what funding has been provided to churches and faith-based organisations from the Violence against Women and Children Research and Innovation Fund.
Baroness Northover: The initial competitive tenders for Women and Children Research and Innovation programme were issued in May 2013, and we expect contracts to be in place by the end of the year.
The innovation grants will specifically target support to developing country organisations and will be open to partnerships between international and local organisations, including churches and faith-based organisations.