Savi Hensman's blog

Gay people hunted in Russia: a challenge for churches

A powerful documentary on Channel 4, ‘Hunted’, shows the level of homophobic hatred and violence in Russia. As the Winter Olympics begin in Sochi, the United Nations Secretary-General and writers from many countries have condemned the human rights abuses taking place. Churches should consider their stance.

Nigerian Catholic bishops defy Vatican on human rights

Nigerian bishops have abandoned Catholic social teaching by backing a new law which severely violates human rights. By supporting the misleadingly-named Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act, they have also distanced themselves from Pope Francis, who has called for a more pastoral approach to gays.

Bedroom tax, inadequate housing are human rights issues

UK housing minister Kris Hopkins has tried to dismiss a critical report by UN special rapporteur Raquel Rolnik as a "misleading Marxist diatribe". But it is clear that the government is failing to meet important human rights obligations, at a heavy human cost.

Mosque and church attacks harm Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan government minister GL Peiris has tried to justify a wave of attacks on churches and mosques, claiming that these were simply community reactions to unauthorised facilities. The state’s refusal to protect religious minorities further undermines human rights in Sri Lanka overall.

Anglican archbishops at odds over victimising LGBT people

Anglican archbishops at odds over victimising LGBT people

Church leaders who have encouraged mistreatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people (LGBT) have defended their behaviour, after the archbishops of Canterbury and York reminded fellow-Anglicans of a pledge to offer pastoral care and support regardless of sexual orientation. Church of England senior clergy Justin Welby and John Sentamu wrote after harsh new laws were passed in Uganda and Nigeria.

Lobbying bill: silencing the public may not be so easy

Lobbying bill: silencing the public may not be so easy

The UK government may believe it has triumphed by overturning even the House of Lords’ modest amendments to the Lobbying Bill. When this becomes law, it will gravely damage democracy and human rights. But defenders of freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association will not give up easily.

Nigerian archbishop attacks human rights, putting government before God

Nigerian archbishop attacks human rights, putting government before God

Archbishop Nicholas Okoh has praised Nigeria’s president for signing an anti-gay bill into law and criticised its opponents, according to a Channels Television news report. The new law, misleadingly called the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act, goes far further in undermining human rights, contrary to Nigeria’s constitution and Christian values.

Time for Church of England to recognise diverse views on sexuality

Time for Church of England to recognise diverse views on sexuality

Church of England bishops, and later general synod members, are to discuss sexuality in early 2014. For some of us who are middle-aged or older, there is a sense of déjà vu.

Spin, truth-telling and human rights in Nigeria

Spin, truth-telling and human rights in Nigeria

A special adviser on media and publicity to Nigeria’s president is trying to justify a brutally oppressive new law by claiming that it reflects national and religious values. Meanwhile signatures are being gathered for a petition asking the archbishops of Canterbury and York to speak out against this law. Overseas faith leaders may need to choose their words carefully if they are to be most effective.

Bill will not increase lobbying transparency, say lobbyists

Bill will not increase lobbying transparency, say lobbyists

A poll of lobbyists found that only four per cent believe that the lobbying bill will increase transparency. This widely-criticised measure may block voluntary and community organisations and trade unions from flagging up public concerns. But clearly it will not achieve what is supposed to be its main purpose – making lobbying more transparent.