234 Ford House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515-6460
Hon. Christopher H. Smith, Chairman
Hon. Benjamin L. Cardin, Co-Chairman
Media Contact: Shelly Han
July 18, 2012
“ESCALATING VIOLENCE AGAINST COPTIC WOMEN AND GIRLS: WILL THE NEW EGYPT BE MORE DANGEROUS THAN THE OLD?”
WASHINGTON–The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (U.S. Helsinki Commission) announced today the following hearing:
“Escalating Violence Against Coptic Women and Girls: Will the New Egypt Be More Dangerous Than the Old?”
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
210 Cannon House Office Building
The Commission will hold a hearing to examine evidence that, as Egypt’s political and social crisis persists, violence against Coptic women and girls is escalating, including kidnappings, forced conversions, and other human rights abuses. According to a new report to be released at the hearing by Michele Clark, at least 550 Coptic women and girls over the last five years have been kidnapped from their communities. The few who have been found suffered human rights abuses including forced conversion, rape, forced marriage, beatings, and domestic servitude while being held by their captors, raising the question whether developments in the new Egypt are leaving Coptic women and their families more vulnerable than ever – and what U.S. policy should be toward the developing situation.
The Following Witnesses are scheduled to testify:
Ms. Michele Clark, Adjunct Professor, Elliott School of International Affairs, The George Washington University
Dr. Katrina Lantos Swett, Chair, United States Commission on International Religious Freedom
Dr. Walid Phares, Author of “The Coming Revolution: Struggle for Freedom in the Middle East,” and Co-Secretary General of the Transatlantic Legislative Group on Counterterrorism
Victim Witnesses, two Coptic women who experienced attempted kidnapping and forced conversion before they found asylum in the United States.
To view the live webcast click here at the start of the hearing.
The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the U.S. Helsinki Commission, is an independent agency of the Federal Government charged with monitoring compliance with the Helsinki Accords and advancing comprehensive security through promotion of human rights, democracy, and economic, environmental and military cooperation in 56 countries. The Commission consists of nine members from the U.S. Senate, nine from the House of Representatives, and one member each from the Departments of State, Defense, and Commerce.