Religious Persecution - Motion to Take Note

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 5:33 pm on 11th July 2019.

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Photo of Lord Elton Lord Elton Conservative 5:33 pm, 11th July 2019

My Lords, I add my thanks to everybody who has spoken, both those whom I pressed to join and those who volunteered. I am glad to see them all and to hear and learn so much. I am sorry only that my noble friend Lord Ahmad is not here to receive the credit he is due. I had wished to say, and will say, that the report that we have all been discussing is sprinkled with congratulatory and supportive comments about his role in the world.

One answer that I wish to hear followed through is to the question raised by the noble Lord, Lord Green of Deddington, about the filter between the refugees and their safety in this country. The rather disastrous conditions in the refugee camps leave them with a hurdle they cannot climb in order to get here.

I take on board my noble friend’s strictures about the dangers of definition. We need to listen very seriously. We must not be narrow or point at one slot. A definition is a good definition when it says what is wrong, not when it says who is wrong.

I do not want to go on, because I have been flashed at once already. I will just conclude by saying that I am delighted that the response will be cross-governmental; that is crucial. I recognise an elephant in the room—mentioned only once—which is the way a humanitarian approach to life is inhibited by our commercial interests. That is very serious. We in our faith recognise that our Lord taught us and showed that helping those who need it is expensive and can cost lives. We must be ready to accept some burdens in support of others who are infinitely worse off than we are.

Eventually, peace comes from compromise and conversation, and the example of St Francis of Assisi at the siege of Damietta, and his determination to get through to Sultan al-Malik al-Kamil, is an example to us all.

I thank all noble Lords from the bottom of my heart. I knew I was inadequate to this task, but you have ensured that the task has been done nevertheless. I beg to move.

Motion agreed.

House adjourned at 5.37 pm.