As a report emerges of the death of Chinese Bishop, James Su Zhimin, of Baoding, following his arrest and disappearance 17 years ago after previous periods of forced labour and house arrest, the UK Government says, in a welcome announcement, that  it will use its new sanction regime of Magnitsky powers to boost protection for persecuted groups.  

As a report emerges of the death of Chinese Bishop, James Su Zhimin, of Baoding, following his arrest and disappearance 17 years ago after previous periods of forced labour and house arrest, the UK Government says, in a welcome announcement, that  it will use its new sanction regime of Magnitsky powers to boost protection for persecuted groups.  

https://twitter.com/cardjosephzen/status/1281167863542407169?s=21

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-sanctions-regime-among-push-to-boost-protection-for-persecuted-religious-groups

https://davidalton.net/2020/07/08/the-magnitsky-list-global-human-rights-sanctions-regime-government-statement-in-the-house-of-lords-leads-to-calls-for-hong-kongs-chief-executive-carrie-lam-to-be-added-to-the-magnitsky-list-along/

 

Also see:

https://davidalton.net/2020/07/03/uk-government-responds-to-reports-of-the-torture-of-the-chinese-human-rights-lawyer-wang-quanzhang-and-the-arrest-of-chinese-bishop-augustine-cui-tai/

https://davidalton.net/2020/07/08/westminster-symposium-attended-by-several-hundred-people-to-mark-the-first-anniversary-of-the-publication-of-the-truro-review-hosted-today-via-the-house-of-lords/

Report from UCA News 

An underground Chinese bishop last seen 17 years ago is feared dead as state officials reportedly push the Vatican to recognize his assistant as a bishop in his place.

Bishop James Su Zhimin of Baoding in Hebei province, now aged 88, was last seen in 2003 by a Catholic in a hospital in Baoding. That was six years after he was arrested. However, he has been missing since then.

Bishop Su was arrested for his refusal to join the government-sanctioned Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association (CCPA) in 1997.

The authorities have requested the Vatican to appoint Coadjutor Bishop Francis An Shuxin as the bishop of Baoding, according to Su Tianyou, Bishop Su’s nephew.

Su Tianyou, who has been trying to discover the whereabouts of Bishop Su, told UCA News his information is based on a diocesan source.

 

It is feared that Bishop Su is no longer alive, Su Tianyou said, quoting a diocesan source who had a meeting with a local government official. However, government officials could not confirm news about Bishop Su, he said.

The state authorities have never recognized Bishop Su, who fiercely defended the underground church loyal to the Vatican. Instead, they considered Bishop An, his assistant, as the bishop of Baoding.

Bishop An, 71, originally belonged to the underground church, and in 1993 he was secretly ordained as auxiliary bishop.

In 1996, he was detained by authorities and under house arrest for 10 years until he was released in 2006. Since then, he has been working openly and became vice-chairman of the local CCPA.

The state-sectioned church installed him as the bishop of Baoding in 2010, with state authorities recognizing his position,

According to Su Tianyou, local Catholics refuse to accept Bishop An as the bishop of Baoding. The authorities want him to be recognized by the Vatican so that local Catholics will accept him as their bishop.

Su Tianyou said the move was part of a plan to make the local Church submissive. Bishop An will unquestionably toe the government line, leaving the local Church wholly under the state.

However, Bishop An told UCA News that he had not heard about the state trying to get Vatican recognition for his status.

“Bishop Su is the official bishop of Baoding Diocese and I am the coadjutor of the bishop. I have a lot of respect for Bishop Su. When I was released in 2006, I asked provincial government officials about Bishop Su’s whereabouts, but they said they had no idea,” said Bishop An, noting that he was unsure whether Bishop Su was dead.

Bishop An said that at a meeting with officials at the National Religious Affairs Administration in Beijing, he tried to discover the whereabouts of Bishop Su. But he was told that “it is not a matter that we can resolve. It’s up to the central government and the Vatican,” he quoted a senior official as saying.

But Su Tianyou said he believes Bishop Su may be dead now. “But we still hope to see him, whether he is alive or dead.”

Su Tianyou said the Vatican could help unravel the mystery surrounding Bishop Su.

Reports say representatives of the Vatican and China are to meet this month to review the 2018 temporary agreement they signed on bishops’ appointments.

“The Vatican should be able to take the lead in the negotiations and demand that Bishop Su be released,” Su Tianyou said.

He said most local Catholics consider Bishop An a traitor who gave up his faith for positions. The Vatican’s cooperation with Beijing is a betrayal of Catholics like Bishop Su who have been standing up to the communists, he said.

“The Vatican cannot forget the bishops in prison, but the CCPA teases them,” Su Tianyou said.

Born in 1932, Bishop Su was arrested eight times, imprisoned, put under house arrest or put through labor camps for more than 30 years. He was ordained a priest in 1981 and appointed bishop of Baoding in 1992.

Westminster Symposium Attended By Several Hundred People To Mark The First Anniversary of The Publication of the Truro Review – Hosted Today Via The House of Lords

Welcoming Remarks at the commencement of the House of Lords Symposium Marking the First Anniversary of The Publication of the Truro Review of the Global Persecution of Christians

https://youtu.be/hzJJeBtiGaQ

Concluding Remarks

https://youtu.be/DtKYrV7ZYQk

 

The links to the other contributions made during the Symposiuum, which was attended by several hundred people – on line – will be made available later in the week. 

 

 

Welcome to this House of Lords Symposium.

David Alton delivers the 2012 Tyburn Lecture

It was on Boxing Day 2018 that Jeremy Hunt announced that that he was establishing an independent review into the global persecution of Christians.

Bishop Philip Mounsteven, the Bishop of Truro, was given the Herculean task of amassing the  evidence and offering recommendations.

 One year ago, on  July 4th , having expeditiously undertaken that task with great professionalism and commitment Bishop Mounsteven published his sobering findings,  –  including the disturbing estimate that, worldwide, almost 250 million Christians live in countries where they are subject to high levels of persecution.

In a powerful editorial The Times said we had become “Spectators at the Carnage… Christianity is by most calculations the most persecuted religion of modern times.” 

 

The Report triggered a commitment from the Prime Minister that his Government would implement in their entirety  all of its 22 recommendations

 Without reservation or caveat Boris Johnson said : “We will do everything possible to champion these freedoms…. We are determined to use the tools of British diplomacy in this cause, including our permanent seat on the UN Security Council.

“We will use the UK’s global reach and programme funding to improve the lives of persecuted people.”

Since that welcome declaration life, of course, has been overshadowed by Covid 19 – but persecution has not been a victim of Cornonavirus.

Indeed, all the evidence suggests that groups like ISIS – which has described the virus as its “little soldier” – and Governments – from China to Pakistan – have used the cover of Covid to inflict yet more misery on their minorities.

The Truro Report unashamedly shines a light on the plight of Christians but it reminds us that when one group is persecuted, others quickly follow in their wake; when the Article 18 human right of freedom of religion or belief is breached –  other rights are quickly transgressed as well.    

The Truro Report was a wake-up call – but in all truth, many who hold power, direct aid, are entrusted to act on behalf of the countries with leverage,  are still slumbering and asleep at their posts.

With the forthcoming amalgamation of the FCO and DFID – and the Integrated Review of  foreign policy, aid, trade and security, it will be vitally important to ensure that the Truro Report remains a defining document and doesn’t simply gather dust.

Notwithstanding the self-evident and commitment of some Ministers – I think of Lord Ahmad and Dominic Raab – it is no secret that some senior civil servants in the Foreign Office do not share the Prime Minister’s commitment to implementing the Truro Recommendations.

 

Many will want to bury it – But not the  11 Christians who, on average, lose their lives every day.

Not the Yazidi and Christians victims of genocide I met a few months ago in Northern Iraq – some of whose former homes in Mosul had been daubed in red paint with the letter “N” designating them as Nazarenes, ISIS had told them they must convert or die. 

Not the Armenian, Syriac, and Coptic Christians who have seen loved ones murdered, homes and churches destroyed, and ancient communities driven from their ancient  lands.

Not the imprisoned Christians – Catholic and Protestant – in China and North Korea  or the Uighur Muslims incarcerated in Xinjiang or the Rohingya Muslims forced from their homes in Burma.

Not the anxious Christians of Hong Kong – who have seen the arrest of one of their leading laymen, the lawyer, Martin Lee, and who have heard their Cardinal, Joseph Zen, say that he is ready to be arrested under Beijing’s new draconian Security Law.

Not the families of the 1000 Pakistani Christian and Hindu girls abducted, forcibly married converted every year or the family of the murdered 14 year old Indian Christian boy,Samaru Madkami, another victim of religious persecution in India.

Not the families of the 11 Nigerians beheaded over Christmas or  Rebecca Sharibu, who recently joined us for the launch here in Parliament of the new report on Nigeria, dedicated to her daughter, Leah, abducted raped and forcibly converted by Boko Haram.

That Report ‘s title askes the Question is this “an unfolding genocide?”

These beleaguered people  and countless others are the reasons why we mustn’t let others bury or ignore the Truro Report – why fashionable and politically correct causes mustn’t become a pretext for ignoring this phenomenal global suffering.

And don’t underestimate our leverage or our opportunity to be agents for change.  

I began this week at a meeting about Pakistan.  Over the last 10 years it has received  £2.6 billion of UK aid – an average of £383,000 every day.  This is a country where a mob of 1200 burnt alive a Christian couple and forced their children to watch; where  the Christian Minister for Minorities, Shahbaz Bhati, was murdered, with no one brought to justice.

Its high time we made aid conditional on Article 18 and  conditional on bringing perpetrators to justice.

Recommendation 7 of the  Truro Review requires the Government to ensure that there are:

“mechanisms in place to facilitate an immediate response to atrocity crimes… “

This week the UK Government took a long overdue step towards that.

It laid Orders to use Magnitsky Powers  to name those responsible for egregious violations of human rights and to sanction them.

Many perpetrators  buy property in the UK, keep their money in our banks , educate their children here and enjoy the benefits of an open and free society which respects diversity and pluralism and promotes respectful co-existence.

Yet, in their own countries, those who have enjoyed the benefits of the rule of law and human rights,  discriminate, persecute, torture and kill.  No longer. And that is truly welcome.

 

The Truro Review’s final recommendation is a ‘sunset clause’ which will require the Foreign Office to demonstrate what it has done and how they have co-ordinated interdepartmental responses.

In addition to more joined up thinking, more religious literacy, and more use of leverage and sanctions,  we should never neglect to remind policy makers and Ministers that countries which promote religious freedom are the most stable, and  the most prosperous; and  those countries which do not are the poorest and least happy places to be.

Thanks to the good bishop  and his Report the suffering of 250 million people world-wide is no longer a peripheral issue. The challenge to each of us participating today is to keep it centre stage.

In welcoming you to our Westminster Parliament Symposium today it is an invitation to redouble our efforts and to use our cherished freedoms on behalf of those who enjoy none of the same rights.

Thank you for participating.

 

=========================

 

Concluding Remarks

 

In closing today’s event, all that is now required is to thank you for taking part.

In preparation for today I read the Report again and was particularly struck by the Report’s declaration that there must be a complete culture shift affecting “strategy and structures”, making “Freedom of Religion or Belief central to the FCO’s culture, policies and international operations”

I was struck by its call for  “a religiously-literate local operational approach” the training and equipping of local embassy staff with in-depth knowledge of religious history, religious persecution and religious culture of the country in which they work. 

And then I thought about Nigeria – and how whenever I speak to officials they try to suggest that the killings, abductions, rapes and forced conversions are primarily attributable to climate change and demographic trends.

The effects of climate change do of course have to be addressed but climate change doesn’t behead people or rape them – a murderous ideology does.

Take the section in the Truro Report on Sub Sahara Africa. It says:

“Reports consistently showed that in Nigeria, month after month, on average hundreds of Christians were being killed for reasons connected with their faith… Those worst affected included Christian women and girls ‘abducted, and forced to convert, enter forced marriages, sexual abuse and torture…”

It is those victims who desperately need a culture shift – including a review of how the £800,000 in aid, which the UK gives to Nigeria each and every single day, is spent. They are the ones who need to see the Prime Minister’s pledge to “use the UK’s global reach and programme funding to improve the lives of persecuted people” become a reality. 

    

A brave Nigerian Muslim woman I recently met  put it well. She said “We don’t need Boko Haram, we need Boko Halal”. 

 

In other words, Education should not be forbidden – it should be welcomed and permitted – especially for girls. And that isn’t just true in Nigeria.

 

British aid should insist on a culture shift which promotes honest and accountable government; leaders of integrity; community cohesion; the protection of minorities; the teaching of citizenship; the promotion  of shared identity and diversity – and an end to life taking sectarian violence.

 

 

The Truro report challenges us to listen to the victims; to engage with ravaged local communities; to lead sustained efforts to protect and reconcile divided communities; to end cycles of revenge and retaliation; to address root causes; to end impunity and bring to justice those who threaten the  very existence of countries like Nigeria – which could so easily go the way of Sudan.

 

When the recent Report on Nigeria was launched here at Westminster, Leah Sharibu’s mother urged us to hold her country’s leaders to accounts, And she said “please don’t grow weary or tried of trying to help us.”

 

Friends, 84% of the world’s population has a faith; a third are Christian. But, according to Pew Research Centre 74% of the world’s population live in the countries where there are violations of freedom of religion or belief.

 Our former Chief Rabbi, Jonathan Sacks, in describing genocide against Christians says  it is “one of the crimes against humanity of our time”  adding that he was “appalled at the lack of protest it has evoked.” 

 

That lack of protest led  Spectator magazine to comment that “The global war on Christians remains the greatest story never told of the early 21st century”

 

We who enjoy such extraordinary freedoms and liberties have a duty to tell these stories on behalf of those who can’t

 

If you haven’t already done so, I hope you will keep a copy of the Truro Review, easily accessible on your computer or IPAD –  that you will do everything you can to ensure that the recommendations stay live; that they  don’t’ disappear into the ether; and that  that there are  250 million compelling reasons – 250 million people – who need you to for constantly use your democratic opportunities to act on their behalf.

As Rebecca Sharibu said, please “don’t grow tired or weary” ; deploy every asset and seize every opportunity to use your voice on behalf of those whose voices have been silenced.

Thank you again for taking part today.

 

The Magnitsky List: Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime – Government Statement in the House of Lords leads to calls for Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam to be added to the Magnitsky List along with Chen Quanguo, the Communist Party boss in Xinjiang

The Magnitsky List: Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime – Government Statement in the House of Lords leads to calls for Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam to be added to the Magnitsky List along with Chen Quanguo, the Communist Party boss in Xinjiang

2020 45 Parliamentarians Call For Magnitsky Sanctions Against Corrupt Oligarchs and Human Rights Abusers

 

Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime

08 July 2020

Statement

carrie lamChen Quanguo1

Lord Alton of Liverpool (CB) [V]

My Lords, in declaring my interests as vice-chairman of the all-party parliamentary groups on Hong Kong and the Uighurs, I too pay tribute to Bill Browder and warmly welcome the Foreign Secretary’s decision to use Magnitsky powers to target those who themselves use the United Kingdom as a bolthole for their money and families, while abusing human rights in their own jurisdictions. Returning to the questions of the noble Lord, Lord Collins, and the noble Baroness, Lady Northover, can the Minister say whether active consideration is now being given to adding Hong Kong’s Carrie Lam to the Magnitsky list, along with Chen Quanguo, the Communist Party secretary of Xinjiang, in addition to others named in a letter to the Minister of 24 January last, who stand accused of grievous crimes against Muslim Uighurs, Falun Gong and other minorities in China?

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon 2

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon

My Lords, first, I pay tribute to the noble Lord. He and I have often had long discussions about the importance of having such a regime. In paying tribute to the likes of Sergei Magnitsky, who ultimately paid with his life, I also pay tribute to the noble Lord for the work that he does within the human rights field. He asks specifically about China and Hong Kong. I am sure he will accept that I cannot speculate on who might be designated under the sanctions regime in the future. But as I have repeatedly said as Human Rights Minister, we have on many occasions set out deep concerns about human rights violations in both Xinjiang and Hong Kong. Most recently, we had a campaign with 27 countries backing our statement at the Human Rights Council on 30 June.

carrie lam

 

Government says who permitted the football match between Liverpool and Atlético Madrid on 11 March to go ahead when Spain had already imposed some Covid restrictions and says which Ministers were involved in assessing the advice which was given. It has also replied to a question on female genital mutilation, saying “We will not tolerate a practice that can cause extreme and lifelong physical and psychological suffering to women and girls.”

Government says who permitted the football match between Liverpool and Atlético Madrid on 11 March to go ahead when Spain had already imposed some Covid restrictions and says which Ministers were involved in assessing the advice which was given. It has also replied to a question on female genital mutilation, saying “We will not tolerate a practice that can cause extreme and lifelong physical and psychological suffering to women and girls.”

Baroness Barran, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (HL6277):

Question from Lord Alton of Liverpool:

Liverpool FC
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Bethell on 30 June (HL3582), whether they will now answer the question put, namely, who gave the advice on behalf of Public Health England about permitting the football match between Liverpool and Atlético Madrid on 11 March; and which Ministers were involved in assessing that advice. (HL6277)

Tabled on: 30 June 2020

Answer:
Baroness Barran:

Baroness Barran

The decisions regarding mass events and wider measures were taken in line with public health guidance at COBR. DCMS Ministers discussed mass events with the Chief Medical Officer and Deputy Chief Medical Officer in advance of these meetings.

=============

Baroness Williams of Trafford, the Home Office, has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (HL5970):

Question by Lord Alton of Liverpool:
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to address the challenges and barriers experienced by the UK in relation to measures to prevent female genital mutilation, including the use of protection orders to minimize the risk of exposure of women and girls at risk of mutilation when travelling outside the UK. (HL5970)

Tabled on: 22 June 2020

Baroness Susan Williams

Answer:
Baroness Williams of Trafford:

FGM is a crime and it is child abuse. We will not tolerate a practice that can cause extreme and lifelong physical and psychological suffering to women and girls.

The Government significantly strengthened the law in 2015 to improve protection for victims and those at risk, and to break down the barriers to prosecution. The Government has: introduced a new offence of failing to protect a girl from FGM; extended the reach of extra territorial offences; introduced lifelong anonymity for victims of FGM; introduced civil FGM Protection Orders (FGMPOs); and introduced a mandatory reporting duty for known cases in under 18s.

FGMPOs are being used to good effect, with 547 being granted since their introduction in 2015 to the end of December 2019.

In 2019, the Home Office held a series of roadshows across England and Wales to train professionals in the use of FGM and Forced Marriage Protection Orders. Around 1,300 professionals attended these events, which raised awareness of the scope and effectiveness of the orders and encouraged professionals to always consider them in any safeguarding plans.

We continue to provide free resources on FGM for frontline professionals, including: an online resource pack, e-learning, statutory multi-agency guidance and a range of communication materials.

Date and time of answer: 08 Jul 2020 at 12:23.

Burma’s Generals Have Been Drinking In The Last Chance Saloon For Too Long. Now They will be subject to Magnitsky Sanctions For What They Have Done To the Rohingya, Kachin, Karen, and other Minorities.

Burma’s Generals Have Been Drinking In The Last Chance Saloon For Too Long. Now They will be subject to Magnitsky Sanctions For What They Have Done To the Rohingya, Kachin, Karen, and other Minorities.

Report in the Myanmar Times:

https://www.mmtimes.com/news/uk-sanctions-top-myanmar-generals-over-human-rights.html

“For years, some of Burma’s top military figures have been drinking in the last chance saloon. They have been repeatedly warned that they would be held to account for atrocities and crimes against humanity.  

 

“Now the warnings from the British Government are over and the condemnations and rhetoric are being matched by targeted sanctions. 

 

“How much better it would be for everyone if Burma’s leadership returned to the path of reform and national renewal – building respect for diversity and difference. 

 

“A nation’s army is indispensable to its security and international standing but when it becomes an instrument of repression and violence it forfeits respect and its leadership must accept the consequences.“

Rohingya 1

 

The Liverpool -Atlético Madrid Football Match of March 11th raised again in Parliament and by The Liverpool Echo; the loss of jobs because of Covid 19 and the impact on the lowest paid; steps being taken to assess, and to address, the risk of terror groups using the COVID-19 pandemic to recruit new members; and reports that people with COVID-19 have died alone and been left for up to two weeks before being discovered; and Government responds to Jeremy Hunt’s observation that”it seems extraordinary that no one appeared to consider the clinical risk to care homes despite widespread knowledge that the virus could be carried asymptomatically.”

The Liverpool -Atlético Madrid Football Match of March 11th raised again in Parliament and by The Liverpool Echo; the loss of jobs because of Covid 19 and the impact on the lowest paid; steps being taken to assess, and to address, the risk of terror groups using the COVID-19 pandemic to recruit new members; and reports that people with COVID-19 have died alone and been left for up to two weeks before being discovered; and Government responds to Jeremy Hunt’s observation that”it seems extraordinary that no one appeared to consider the clinical risk to care homes despite widespread knowledge that the virus could be carried asymptomatically.”.

https://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/government-says-decision-hold-liverpools-18520204

July 6th 2020 Oral Questions:

Lord Alton of Liverpool (CB) [V]

My Lords, the noble Lord is well known and respected for his own respect for Parliament. Will he therefore please ask his noble friends to fully answer the topical Written Question which I tabled on 28 April, about the decision taken, when Covid restrictions were already in place in Spain, to permit on 11 March a football match between Liverpool and Atlético Madrid? Can he say what lessons we have learned about the imposition and lifting of restrictions from what then followed?

Lord True

My Lords, I will look into this specific matter. I am aware of the event the noble Lord refers to. He will also be aware that, at the time, the advice on large-scale events was not necessarily what it is today. I will certainly undertake to pursue the matter and will ensure that there is a response to Parliament

===========================

Covid and unemployment

Lord Agnew of Oulton, Treasury, has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (HL5742):

Question by Lord Alton of Liverpool:


To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the findings in the report by McKinsey & Company COVID-19 in the United Kingdom: Assessing jobs at risk and the impact on people and places that (1) “UK Gross Domestic Product in 2020 is expected to shrink by 9 per cent”, (2) “7.6 million jobs are at risk”, (3) “people and places with the lowest incomes are the most vulnerable to job loss… with nearly 50 per cent of all the jobs at risk are in occupations earning less than £10 per hour”; and what measures they intend to put in place to address those findings. (HL5742)

Tabled on: 16 June 2020

Answer:
Lord Agnew of Oulton:

The UK, along with the rest of the world, is continuing to face significant economic disruption in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, with both the OBR and Bank of England publishing scenarios that are consistent with significant falls in GDP this year.

The Government has announced unprecedented support for the economy, including via the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Schemes and the Bounce Back Loan Scheme. However, despite these policies, there will be challenging times ahead, and we will not be able to protect every single job or save every single business.

The Government is committed to supporting the lowest paid workers and helping unemployed people go back into work and so is continuing to review what can be done to support those most vulnerable to job loss and to aid the UK’s economic recovery. We are working to ensure our labour market policy response is appropriate and effective.

Date and time of answer: 30 Jun 2020 at 16:56.

==============.

covid and terror

Baroness Williams of Trafford, the Home Office, has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (HL5967):

Question by Lord Alton of Liverpool:
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking (1) to assess, and (2) to address, the risk of terror groups using the COVID-19 pandemic to recruit new members. [T] (HL5967)

Tabled on: 22 June 2020

Answer:
Baroness Williams of Trafford:

Public protection from the threat of terrorism remains a priority for the Government. The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the need to remain vigilant of terrorists seeking to exploit the situation to further their aims. We know that people are spending more time online during this period and this can put them at greater risk of experiencing online harm. We have been working closely with technology companies, civil society and academia to understand and respond to the risks presented during this period. Although it is too early to confidently analyse patterns from this period, there is universal concern about keeping children safe online.

The Prevent Duty remains an essential tool for safeguarding individuals that are vulnerable to radicalisation, ensuring they can be offered support as early as possible. The Government is taking several measures to enhance existing capabilities to support vulnerable individuals, including:

– utilising long-standing, effective relationships with technology companies to understand any changes in terrorist use of their platform and ensure processes are in place to enable companies to respond quickly to any emerging threats;

– working with Five Eyes partners to develop a joint framework to assess the impact of Covid-19 on online terrorist activity;

– supporting our network of Prevent coordinators in the 44 Prevent Priority Areas to understand the impact Covid-19 is having, assisting them to adapt delivery utilising virtual technology where appropriate;

– working alongside our colleagues in the Department for Education and Counter-Terrorism Policing to promote digital safety guidance products. These have been distributed to Local Authority Prevent Leads, as well as other organisations. The guidance gives practical advice to ensure loved ones are safe online, including through signposting to Prevent services in case of radicalisation concerns; and

– continuing to hold Channel Panels throughout the period that pandemic restrictions have been imposed and delivering intervention sessions via telephone when possible, with the highest need cases still receiving face-to-face support.

Date and time of answer: 29 Jun 2020 at 15:35.

==================

covid and dying alone

Lord Bethell, the Department of Health and Social Care, has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (HL5348):

Question by Lord Alton of Liverpool:


To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of reports that people with COVID-19 have died alone and been left for up to two weeks before being discovered; and what steps they are taking to ensure that isolated people without family or other support systems can be better (1) safeguarded, and (2) supported, during the COVID-19 pandemic. [T] (HL5348)

Tabled on: 08 June 2020

Answer:
Lord Bethell:

We recognise how difficult the past months have been for people who are socially isolated and any death is a tragedy.

Local safeguarding partnerships have been ensuring that people with care and support needs are being safeguarded throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, including working with the shielding population to ensure they are well-supported. We are also aware of good practice through community-led social work and support networks which have ensured people stay connected and any concerns or support needs are identified more quickly.

=================

Jeremy Hunt

Lord Bethell, the Department of Health and Social Care, has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (HL5739):

Question by Lord Alton of Liverpool:


To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the remarks made by the Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP on 12 June that “whilst the impact of such discharges meant the NHS was never short of beds or ventilators, it seems extraordinary that no one appeared to consider the clinical risk to care homes despite widespread knowledge that the virus could be carried asymptomatically.” (HL5739)

Tabled on: 16 June 2020

Answer:
Lord Bethell:

Throughout our coronavirus response we have kept our policies under continuous review based on the emerging international and domestic evidence and have worked tirelessly with the care sector and public health experts to reduce transmission and save lives.

On 15 April, we published COVID-19: Our Action Plan for Adult Social Care. This set out that all patients are required to be tested prior to discharge to a care home. A copy is attached.

Patients are discharged when it is clinically safe and they no longer need acute care. Wherever possible, people who are clinically ready should be supported to return to their place of residence, where assessment of longer-term needs will take place. This approach follows the ‘discharge to assess’ model, to support timely and appropriate discharge from hospital.

As our understanding of the virus has changes throughout the course of the pandemic, we have continued to develop our policy. Our current policy is that due to evidence of asymptomatic spread, during periods of sustained transmission we recommend that all residents being discharged from hospital or interim care facilities to the care home and new residents admitted from the community should be isolated for 14 days within their own room. For care home residents, around 70% of people living in care homes for the over 65s have dementia. It is important they return to their familiar environments when they are clinically ready, with the personalised support and daily activities in place that help them to live well with dementia. This can be better achieved in their care home, rather than the hospital.

We have made £1.3 billion funding available via the National Health Service to help patients who no longer need urgent treatment to get home from hospital safely and quickly. We have also made £3.2 billion available to local authorities so they can address pressures on local services caused by the pandemic, including in adult social care. On 13 May we announced an additional £600 million to support care home providers through a new Adult Social Care Infection Control Fund.

 

 

UK Government again calls on China to allow the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights unfettered access to Xinjiang and says “we are seriously concerned about the human rights situation in Xinjiang including the extra-judicial detention of over a million Uyghur Muslims and other minorities in “political re-education camps”, systematic restrictions on Uyghur culture and the practice of Islam, and extensive and invasive surveillance targeting minorities”

 

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (HL6104):

Question Lord Alton of Liverpool:
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to reports of forced sterilisation, mass incarceration, indoctrination, extrajudicial detention, invasive surveillance, forced labour, and the destruction of Uyghur cultural sites, including cemeteries, what plans they have to table a resolution at the UN General Assembly to seek the establishment of an independent international body to investigate the situation in Xinjiang and to pursue appropriate judicial means to make a determination regarding reported crimes against humanity and genocide in Xinjiang with a view to bringing perpetrators of any such crimes to justice. (HL6104)

Tabled on: 24 June 2020

This question was grouped with the following question(s) for answer:

  1. To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of reports that the decline in birth-rates among the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region’s ethnic minority communities may indicate the promotion of a coercive birth-prevention strategy targeted at ethnoreligious minority groups; and whether any such targeted coercive policy would require the UK Government to consider their obligations, as a signatory to the 1948 Convention on the Crime of Genocide, to prevent, protect, and hold to account perpetrators. (HL6103)
    Tabled on: 24 June 2020

Answer:
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon:

We are aware of these reports. We continue to call on China to allow the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights unfettered access to the region to better understand the situation. I did so publicly during the UK’s national statement at the Human Rights Council on 25 February.

More broadly, we are seriously concerned about the human rights situation in Xinjiang including the extra-judicial detention of over a million Uyghur Muslims and other minorities in “political re-education camps”, systematic restrictions on Uyghur culture and the practice of Islam, and extensive and invasive surveillance targeting minorities. On 10 March at the 43rd session of the UN Human Rights Council, the UK raised concerns about systematic human rights violations and reports of forced labour in Xinjiang during our ‘Item 4’ statement.

UK Government Responds to the Brutal Murder of a 16-year-old Indonesian school girl, Rosmini Darwis, hacked to death in an honour killing. Minister says the UK will monitor the case and is”committed to working with the Indonesian Government and civil society to promote values of tolerance and pluralism”.

UK Government Responds to the Brutal Murder of a 16-year-old Indonesian school girl, Rosmini binte Darwis, hacked to death in an honour killing

 

The shocking and brutal murder of Rosmini binte Darwisa, a 16-year-old Indonesian schoolgirl will both test the genuine attempts by Indonesian leaders to create a tolerant society based on co-existence and the willingness of the country’s judiciary to uphold its laws.

The two men – her brothers – who hacked Rosmini to death with a machete – as her family watched – did so as an “honour killing” because they disapproved of her relationship with a cousin. The United Nations estimates that 5,000 honour killings occur annually. 

Siti Aminah Tardi, a member of Indonesia’s National Commission on Violence against Women, said Rosmini’s death highlighted the need to end gender and honour-based violence: “This is an honor or shame killing. This can’t be separated from the patriarchal culture that places women as a source of morality in society.

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In a letter dated July 6th, Nigel Adams MP, the Foreign Office Minister for Asia, the UK Government says it is “committed to working with the Indonesian Government and civil society to promote values of tolerance and pluralism”.

6 July 2020

Our reference: MC2020/11961

The Lord Alton of Liverpool
House of Commons
London
SW1A 0AA

Dear Lord Alton,

Thank you for your email of 18 June about the brutal death of Rosmini Darwis in Indonesia. I am replying as the Minister for Asia.

I share your concern over the murder of Rosmini, a 16 year old, in what has been reported as a so-called honour killing carried out by her two brothers. While such ‘honour killings’ are extremely rare in Indonesia, the case must be investigated in full accordance with Indonesian law.

I am aware that the two brothers have been arrested by local police, and are due to face trial next month on charges of premeditated murder.

The UK Government will continue to monitor this case, and takes freedom of expression in Indonesia extremely seriously. We remain committed to working with the Indonesian Government and civil society to promote values of tolerance and pluralism, and have worked with the Indonesia Consortium for Religious Studies to develop religious literacy training to promote such values.

Yours ever,

Nigel Adams MP
Minister of State for Asia

 

The Office of Tibet, London will be hosting a live panel discussion on Monday July 6th to celebrate His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama’s commitments and leadership to coincide with His Holiness’s 85th Birthday.

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Dear All,

I hope and trust this finds you all well. As aware,  the Office of Tibet, London will be hosting a live panel discussion to celebrate His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama’s principal commitments and benevolent leadership on Monday 6th July 2020 coinciding with His Holiness’s 85th Birthday.

We will be broadcasting the event live on Facebook page of Office of Tibet, London. Please find the link below to join us celebrate the day of Happiness.

https://www.facebook.com/otlondon.net/

With best wishes and warm regards
Tsering Tsomo

UK Government responds to reports of the torture of the Chinese human rights lawyer, Wang Quanzhang and the arrest of Chinese Bishop Augustine Cui Tai.

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Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (HL6106):

Question by Lord Alton of Liverpool:


To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the claims of the Chinese human rights lawyer, Wang Quanzhang, that he was tortured during a four-year prison sentence, kept under 24-hour surveillance by two armed police officers within his prison cell, and was forced into making a false confession; what representations they have made to the government of China about his reported treatment; and what response they have received. (HL6106)

Tabled on: 24 June 2020

Answer:
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon:

We have directly raised our concerns about the detention, mistreatment, and harassment of Wang Quanzhang on multiple occasions with the Chinese Government, and raised the case during China’s last Universal Periodic Review. The Foreign Secretary raised human rights concerns with his Chinese counterpart, State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, on both 9 March and 8 June.

Date and time of answer: 03 Jul 2020 at 14:10.

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Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (HL5969):

Question by Lord Alton of Liverpool:
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of China about reports that Bishop Augustine Cui Tai was arbitrarily arrested on 19 June; what is known about his health and whereabouts; and what priority they assign to human rights violations on grounds of religion or belief in the context of UK–China trade deals. (HL5969)

Tabled on: 22 June 2020

Answer:
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon:

We are aware of the arrest of Bishop Augustine Cui Tai, but do not have details of his health and whereabouts. We remain concerned by restrictions placed on Christians and other religious groups in China, including reports of individuals being detained for their beliefs and regularly raise cases of concern with the Chinese authorities.

Date and time of answer: 01 Jul 2020 at 13:46.

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