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LIVE WEBCAST: U.S. HELSINKI COMMISSION TO HOLD HEARING ON ESCALATION OF VIOLENCE AGAINST COPTIC WOMEN AND GIRLS IN EGYPT

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 

2:00 p.m.

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.

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