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Volume 710: debated on Monday 18 May 2009


Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will make representations to the Government of Egypt about reports that their state security forces demolished the services building belonging to the Coptic Orthodox Diocese of Masrah Matrouh, assaulting the Coptic priests and Coptic women and men, on 26 April at 7.30 am. [HL3479]

The facts of this case are not totally clear. We understand from informal contacts, however, that the building in question was privately owned by an Egyptian Coptic Christian. A second storey had apparently been added illegally prompting the involvement of the State Security forces to demolish the extension. There are differing reports on the level of force used and we are still trying to verify the facts. We do understand, however, that the owner gifted the building to the Coptic Church only after the demolition of the extension.

We actively raise human rights including the freedom of religion with the Egyptian authorities and remind them of their international obligations whenever appropriate.