Bishop of Leeds asks Government about Daesh atrocities, Iraq and Kurdistan

LeedsOn 5th April 2016 the Bishop of Leeds, Rt Revd Nick Baines, received written answers to five questions to Government on Daesh atrocities, Iraq and Kurdistan:

The Lord Bishop of Leeds: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of reports of the use of chemical weapons by Daesh in Iraq.

Baroness Anelay of St Johns: There are credible reports that Daesh has used chemical weapons in Iraq. The Government of Iraq, with support from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), investigated allegations of chemical weapons use in Iraq last year and has concluded that sulphur mustard was used against Peshmerga fighters on 11 August 2015. Continue reading “Bishop of Leeds asks Government about Daesh atrocities, Iraq and Kurdistan”

Archbishop of Canterbury Raises Concern About Conflict in Central African Republic, South Sudan

Updated: The Archbishop of Canterbury asked three written questions of Government, on conflict in the Central African Republic and on sexual violence and war crimes in South Sudan. They were responded to on 10th and 11th March 2014 by the Foreign Office Senior Minister of State, Baroness Warsi.  The questions and their replies are below.

Central African Republic


ImageThe Archbishop of Canterbury: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to support the stabilisation of the conflict in the Central African Republic, particularly in ensuring that sectarian violence does not develop into inter-religious conflict.

 The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi) (Con): We are greatly concerned by the situation on the ground in the Central African Republic (CAR). The UK provided £15 million to the humanitarian appeal and a further £2million to the African Union to cover some of the African-led International Support Mission to CAR (MISCA)’s operation. Continue reading “Archbishop of Canterbury Raises Concern About Conflict in Central African Republic, South Sudan”

Archbishop of Canterbury speaks during debate on use of chemical weapons in Syria

“In civil wars, those who are internal to the civil conflict fight for their lives, necessarily. Those who are external have a responsibility, if they get involved at all, to fight for the outcome. That outcome must be one that improves the chances of long-term peace and reconciliation.”

On 29th August 2013, the House of Lords was recalled to take note and debate the use of chemical weapons in Syria. The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd and Rt Hon. Justin Welby, spoke during the debate. He urged that all intermediate steps before opening fire should be taken and expressed concern that intervention from abroad would declare open season on Christian communities in the country and wider region, which have already been devastated. He argued that such a consequence needed to be balanced against the consequences of inaction and that intervention would have  to be effective in preventing any further use or promotion of chemical weapons and make it more possible for Syria and the Middle East to be places without millions of refugees.

Archbishop of CanterburyThe Archbishop of Canterbury: My Lords, I welcome very much the opportunity to speak later in this debate because of the extraordinary quality of many of the contributions that have been made and how much one can learn by listening to them. Like many noble Lords I have some experience in the region, partly from this role that I have and from recent visits and contact with many faith leaders of all three Abrahamic faiths, and through 10 years of, from time to time, working on reconciliation projects.

I do not intend to repeat the powerful points that have been made on international law, which is itself based on the Christian theory of just war. That has been said very eloquently. However, I want to pick up a couple of points. First, it has been said, quite rightly, that there is as much risk in inaction as there is in action. In a conflict in another part of the world—a civil conflict in which I was mediating some years ago—a general said to me, “We have to learn that there are intermediate steps between being in barracks and opening fire”. The reality is that, until we are sure that all those intermediate steps have been pursued, just war theory says that the step of opening fire is one that must only be taken when there is no possible alternative whatever under any circumstances. As the noble Lord, Lord Alli, just said very clearly and very eloquently, the consequences are totally out of our hands once it has started. Continue reading “Archbishop of Canterbury speaks during debate on use of chemical weapons in Syria”