All 2 Debates between Lord Bishop of Guildford and Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon

Tue 5th Jul 2022
Tue 28th Jun 2022

Nigeria

Debate between Lord Bishop of Guildford and Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Tuesday 5th July 2022

(1 year, 11 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Portrait Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Con)
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My Lords, when my right honourable friend became Foreign Secretary, she made very clear that the budgets on issues relating to women and girls would be restored to previous levels. That is a priority for my right honourable friend and for me. On the specific area of women and girls within Nigeria, I welcome the noble Lord’s feedback. There is also a session at the conference focused on the issue of freedom of religion or belief for women and girls. That will not be recorded; the tragic reasoning behind that is that there are courageous women there who will endanger their own lives if they are filmed. I look forward to talking with the noble Lord.

Lord Bishop of Guildford Portrait The Lord Bishop of Guildford
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My Lords, I add my congratulations to the noble Lord, Lord Ahmad, for an excellent start to the FoRB conference down the road. In the spirit of that conference and this terrifying escalation in communal and religious tensions in Nigeria in the build-up to the 2023 elections, will the UK use its seat at the UN Security Council to seek a resolution that significantly enhances the security given to communities in Nigeria at risk of attack, including Christian farms and villages in the middle belt that have already been attacked by Fulani militia?

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Portrait Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Con)
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My Lords, I thank the right reverend Prelate for his kind remarks. In terms of the UN Security Council, it depends very much on who is chairing a particular session during a given month of presidency. The issue of religious freedom is high up the United Kingdom’s agenda, and I will certainly take on board his suggestions when it comes to Nigeria, and indeed other countries.

Commonwealth

Debate between Lord Bishop of Guildford and Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Tuesday 28th June 2022

(1 year, 11 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Portrait Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Con)
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My Lords, again I agree with my noble friend. As he will be aware, within the Commonwealth context, there is the Commonwealth Youth Forum. Together with a number of other Ministers, including the Prime Minister of Canada and the President of Rwanda, I attended a meeting where the youth forum delegates were directly reporting back on the importance of their priorities. Of course, 60% of the Commonwealth is under 30— although I think that this House acts as a strong voice for the 40% who are not. Equally, we need to remain focused: the youth forum plays a central role in the thinking on this, and will be feeding not just to the chair- in-office but to the member states as well. In addition, the role of the CPA is well recognised.

Lord Bishop of Guildford Portrait The Lord Bishop of Guildford
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My Lords, as the Minister knows extremely well, this week marks a brief lull between the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Rwanda last week and the International Ministerial Conference on Freedom of Religion or Belief in London next week. Given the overlap between those two conferences, what progress has been made on this basic human right, not least given that three of the Commonwealth nations—India, Pakistan and Nigeria—are among the worst when it comes to protecting the rights, and even the lives, of Christians and those of other faiths and beliefs?

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Portrait Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Con)
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The right reverend Prelate raises an important issue. It seems to be a continuum. As someone who is overseeing the FoRB conference as well, I was wondering whether the “Minister for Conferences” is being added to my portfolio. Nevertheless, it is an important area which is of focus to Her Majesty’s Government. I am working very closely with Fiona Bruce on the delivery of next week’s conference, at which over 30 countries will be in attendance. On the countries the right reverend Prelate referred to, I would also note that there are many where there are distinct constitutional protections for all communities and faiths. It is important that all countries of the Commonwealth stand up for the rights of the faiths and beliefs of all.