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
“There is no doubt that someone who dwells on history can be somewhat tedious, but at the same time someone with a sense of destiny and no sense of history can be very dangerous.”- Bishop of London, 12/7/16
On 12th July 2016 the House of Lords debated a Government motion “That this House takes note of the Report of the Iraq Inquiry”. The Bishop of London, Rt Rev and Rt Hon Richard Chartres, spoke in the debate:
The Lord Bishop of London: My Lords, it is humbling to follow such a powerful and authoritative voice. I am also grateful to the Minister for the constructive way he introduced this debate and invited us to think about the lessons we can apply now. Sir John Chilcot recommends more thorough analysis before military action and a more collaborative approach to policy-making. I imagine that every one of your Lordships would probably agree that the case is well made, but politicians caught up in oppressive events, a rapidly changing situation and a 24/7 news environment, and with an ally who is losing patience, do not have much time for pondering decisions. Therefore—this echoes many of the remarks of the previous noble Lord—the culture and assumptions that leaders bring to the crisis are hugely significant. Continue reading
On 6th July 2016, Earl Howe repeated a Government statement on the Chilcot Inquiry. The Bishop of Ely, Rt. Rev. Stephen Conway, responded to the statement.
The Lord Bishop of Ely: My Lords, I take the opportunity to draw out what has already been implicit in what has been said so far this afternoon about the deep moral dimension of what we are discussing. I agree with the noble Lord that our troops need not only the assurance of our support, through the covenant, that they have been doing their duty, but the right to believe that what they had been entered into was right and that, when they sacrifice their lives or their continued health, they understand that they were doing something that was entered into with great integrity in the service of others. Continue reading
On 26th November 2015 the Leader of the House of Lords, Baroness Stowell, repeated in the Lords a statement given earlier in the day to the House of Commons by the Prime Minister about Syria and the possibility of military action. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Most Revd and Rt Hon Justin Welby, responded:
The Archbishop of Canterbury: I thank the Leader of the House for the repetition of the Statement, and particularly the publication of the Foreign Affairs Committee report, and welcome the seriousness of the emphasis in both the Statement and the report on a comprehensive approach—the seriousness of military action but also the integration of soft and hard power, support for jobs, education, family and community life and stability, and of communities flourishing in the neighbouring countries, which comes out very strongly. The test will obviously be the total mobilisation of effort in a focused way that recognises the long-term needs of security for indigenous populations, particularly the Christian populations, which are being harried out of the area. Continue reading
On the 23rd and 24th September 2015 the Bishop of Coventry, Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, received written answers to questions of Government about overseas aid to Syria and the protection of civilians from war crimes.
The Lord Bishop of Coventry: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to ensure that targeted aid reaches civilians in communities and towns under siege in Syria.
Baroness Verma: The UK is deeply concerned that, according to UN figures, 422,000 people currently live in besieged areas in Syria. DFID works with trusted humanitarian organisations that endeavour to assist these populations and others in hard-to-reach areas.
The UK strongly condemns and calls for an end to the unlawful denial of access to impartial humanitarian partners. We have been instrumental in securing the passage of three UN Security Council Resolutions – 2139, 2156 and 2191 – demanding that all parties respect international humanitarian law and allow unhindered humanitarian access. Continue reading