The undersigned political parties and civil society organizations condemn the intensifying sectarian violence targeting Coptic Christians in the northern Egyptian city of Al-Arish. In the last three weeks, seven Christians were shot and killed and two were burned alive. Threats were made against the rest of the city’s Christian residents, including the recent video released by the Islamic State Daesh (ISIS).
The sectarian violence is exacerbated by the government’s gross dereliction of duty in protecting Christian citizens in Al-Arish; negligence tantamount to collision with the terrorist organizations. Further compounding the hostility is the burgeoning popular embrace of Daesh in Sinai due to state violence against local residents. The escalating sectarianism combined with the government’s nonintervention has compelled growing numbers of Christians to abandon their homes, properties, and businesses in Al-Arish.
The signatories to this statement believe that every citizen in Egyptian territory has the right to security that preserves his/her life, property, and religion; and the Christians of Al-Arish have the right to be secure in their hometown. We nevertheless understand why some have sought refuge in other governorates, especially considering the increasing influence of Daesh in Sinai.
We stand in solidarity with the demands of the Coptic Christians of Al-Arish, in the regard that:
- It is the responsibility of the security forces to protect Christians who decide to stay in Al- Arish.
- The state must secure Christians’ departure from Al-Arish, ensuring they suffer no harm of any type.
- The property of displaced Christians must be secured until they return.
- The Ministry of Higher Education must permit students at institutes and colleges in Al-Arish to easily transfer to institutions in other governorates without reference to matriculation exam scores, and without any other difficulties.
- The Ministry of Education should also be flexible and accept student transfers, to avoid wasting their academic year.
- Displaced Christians must be promptly compensated for their property and losses sustained as a result of the displacement. Some of them abandoned their sources of livelihood and will surely be in need of an alternative to live in any new place.
We urge all democratic, national forces to organize a mass stand-in, in front of the House of Representatives, to condemn criminal acts. We hope to provide joint notice of the date of the protest to the Interior Ministry.
Let us all stand in solidarity against terrorism.
Let us all stand in solidarity with Christian citizens.
Let us all stand in solidarity for Egypt, a nation for all Egyptians.
- Egyptian Socialist Party
- Socialist Popular Alliance Party
- Destour Party
- Bread and Freedom Party (in formation)
- Strong Egypt Party
- Nazra for Feminist Studies
- Egyptians in One Nation Foundation
- Foundation for Victims of Abduction and Enforced Disappearance
- Egyptian Foundation for the Advancement of Childhood Conditions
- Arab Organization for Penal Reform, Geneva
- Egyptians Against Religious Discrimination
- Habi Center for Environmental Rights
- Andalus Center for Tolerance and Anti-Violence Studies
- Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies
- Regional Center for Rights and Liberties
- Land Center for Human Rights
- Human Rights Legal Aid Group
- Arab Network for Human Rights Information
- April 6th, Democratic Front
- Marid Association, France
- Egyptian Association for Community Participation Enhancement
- Egypt Women’s Coordinating Committee
- Egyptian Democratic Solidarity
- Egyptian Coalition for the Rights of the Child
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