§ Lord Hylton
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether they are supporting the efforts of the Vatican State to secure by diplomatic means fair and reasonable conditions for access to Russia by Roman Catholic clergy working in that country. [HL5791]
§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Amos)
There have been a number of cases this year in which Roman Catholic clergy have been refused entry to Russia or have had their visas cancelled. After Bishop Jerzy Mazur and Father Stefano Caprio had their visas refused in April, the European Union with our support sought explanations from the Russian authorities. We also regularly raise our concerns about religious freedom in Russia bilaterally with the Russian authorities. We did so most recently during annual human rights talks on 27 September. We shall continue to press for improved access to Russia for Catholic priests in future.