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Public Statements

Human Rights Violations In Egypt

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Human Rights Violations In Egypt

* Mr. SIRES. Madam Speaker, I rise today to share my concern and outrage over human rights abuses in Egypt.

* I rise to ask that the Egyptian Government uphold the rights of all religious communities by ending discrimination and harassment of groups such as the Coptic Christians, and prosecuting those that do such groups harm.

* An attack that happened just weeks ago starkly illustrates the need for change in Egypt. On January 6th, 2010, a drive-by shooting killed six Coptic Christians in Nag Hammadi. This deadly attack, carried out the night before the Coptic Christmas, is the most recent in a long history of repression and abuse of Coptic Christians in Egypt.

* On January 14th, 2009, the U.S. Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, Michael Posner, spoke out against this attack. He stressed the need for prosecution and justice in the country. Last October, the Department of State released its 2009 International Religious Freedom Report detailing the widespread and ongoing persecution of this community. The report also highlights increasing violence and the need for improved investigations.

* While the United States and the human rights community have been vocal in condemning this attack and other human rights abuses, the Egyptian government has yet to recognize the full significance of the violent act or the overarching issue of intolerance in the country. Violence in the name of the religion is unacceptable, but when governments do not sufficiently address such behavior, the violence is far more troubling.

* Religion is a fundamental freedom that must be upheld and respected around the world, in every nation and in every community. I urge my colleagues in the House to join me in calling for religious freedom and basic rights for all people.

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