Foreign minister must put pressure on Egypt

3 January 2011

Foreign minister must put pressure on Egypt

SP Member of Parliament Harry van Bommel has asked Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal for his comments on the attitude taken by the Egyptian government to minority groups. Van Bommel’s request follows the horrific New Year’s Day attacks on Coptic Christians in Alexandria, in which twenty-one people lost their lives. ‘This attack is no exception,’ Van Bommel explains. ‘Egypt should do a much better job of protecting minorities. I want the Foreign Minister and his European colleagues to bring pressure to bear on Egypt to respect human rights.'

Harry van Bommel The European Union has a trade agreement with Egypt, sections of which deal with human rights. In Van Bommel’s opinion it is time that the EU took up the issue with Egypt of the lack of security for non-Muslim minorities. Freedom of religion forms part of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and states which have ratified the Declaration, which include Egypt, are under an obligation to promote such freedom. 'Egypt must offer better protection,’ says Van Bommel. ‘The trade agreement with the EU appears to be unsatisfactory as a means of promoting democracy in Egypt and of getting rid of the causes of all forms of discrimination. More pressure must be put on the Egyptian government.'

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