Recent killings and attacks on Coptic Christians, led me to want to take on constituents parliamentary question
I have been contacted by a number of constituents who are concerned about the recent killings and violence against Coptic Christians in Egypt.
My constituents are concerned that the Egyptian government is not fulfilling its duty to protect Coptic Christians and other religious minorities from violence. My constituents tell me that after the recent attack on a tour bus by Daesh during which 28 people were killed, Amnesty International reported that, “The [Egyptian] government has failed to take action to protect Christians in North Sinai who have increasingly faced kidnapping and assassinations by armed groups over the past three years.”
Can the High Representative please confirm if:
- The treatment and murder of Coptic Christians has been raised with the Egyptian government?
- What action the High Representative is taking or plans to take with the Egyptian government to address this situation?
Answer given by Vice-President Mogherini
on behalf of the Commission
The High Representative/Vice-Representative (HR/VP) has expressed her condolences and solidarity with the Egyptian people and government in their fight against terrorism in public statements, following the recent attacks against religious communities and places of worship, including the attack on a bus carrying a group of Coptic pilgrims, in Minya, on 25 May 2017.
The HR/VP follows the situation in Egypt very closely and regularly discusses it with the Egyptian authorities. In her bilateral meetings with Foreign Ministry Shoukry in Cairo on 21 December 2016 and in Brussels on 5 March 2017, and more recently in the Association Council held in Brussels on 25 July 2017, the HR/VP discussed EU concerns regarding the human rights and security situation in Egypt and recalled the EU’s readiness to enhance cooperation on security and counter terrorism, in line with the EU-Egypt Partnership Priorities, that were adopted at the Association Council of 25 July 2017. The European External Action Service is similarly engaged with its counterparts at all levels.
Freedom of religion or belief is a fundamental right to which everyone is entitled, everywhere, and it is a priority under the EU’s human rights policy. All persons should be able to manifest their religion or belief either individually or in a community, without fear of intimidation, discrimination, violence or attack. This is a message that was also reiterated by the EU Special Representative for Human Rights, in a visit to Egypt in February 2017.