Egypt: Identity Cards

House of Lords written question – answered on 21st March 2007.

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Photo of Lord Avebury Lord Avebury Spokesperson in the Lords (Civil Liberties), Home Affairs, Spokesperson in the Lords (Africa), Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answer by Lord Triesman on 19 February (WA 177) about Egyptian identity cards, what has been the result of their discussions with the German presidency of the European Union about the best way of making progress on this issue; and what reasons the Egyptian authorities have given for refusing to allow people belonging to religions other than Islam, Judaism and Christianity to identify themselves correctly in the space on the identity card where the holder's religion has to be stated.

Photo of Lord Triesman Lord Triesman Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign and Commonwealth Office)

We have raised this issue regularly with the Egyptian Government, both bilaterally and with EU partners, and will continue to do so.

The German presidency of the EU raised concerns about this issue with the Egyptian Foreign Ministry on 5 March. The Foreign Ministry told the presidency that discussions are under way with representatives of the Egyptian Bahai community to resolve the problem. The Egyptian Government have explained the current ID policy on the ground that Islam, Judaism and Christianity are the only religions officially recognised in Egypt. We will continue to pursue this.

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