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HELSINKI COMMISSION TO HOLD HEARING ENTITLED “MINORITY AT RISK: COPTIC CHRISTIANS IN EGYPT”

WASHINGTON –The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (U.S. Helsinki Commission) announced today the following hearing:

“Minority at Risk: Coptic Christians in Egypt”

Friday, July 22, 2011

9:30 a.m.

210 Cannon House Office Building

Simmering discontent in the Republic of Egypt, an OSCE Mediterranean Partner for Cooperation, erupted earlier this year into popular upheaval and mass protests leading to the end of Hosni Mubarak’s 29-year long rule.  The turbulent transition following Egypt’s revolution offers potential promise as well as the very real prospect for instability.  Against the backdrop of revolutionary turmoil and tensions, members of minority communities often find themselves at particular risk.  The role and influence of the Muslim Brotherhood and militant Islamic groups in post-revolution Egypt remain open an question and a source of some concern.  Violent attacks targeting Coptic Christians and their churches have escalated.  The tense situation has also renewed concerns over reports of disappearances, forced conversions and forced marriages of Coptic Christian women and girls.

Witnesses:

Jean Maher, President, French Office, Egyptian Union for Human Rights Organization; Representative, French Coptic Associations

Michele A. Clark, Adjunct Professor, Elliott School of International Affairs, The George Washington University

Caroline Doss, JD, Vice President, Coptic Solidarity (*new witness*)

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