House of Lords written question – answered on 4th July 2012.

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Photo of Lord Patten Lord Patten Conservative

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to make representations to the Government of Egypt concerning (1) the freedom of worship of the Coptic community, and (2) the welfare and civil rights of the Copts.

Photo of Lord Howell of Guildford Lord Howell of Guildford Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (International Energy Policy)

In his letter of congratulations of 24 June 2012 to the President-elect of Egypt, Dr Mohammed Morsi, the Prime Minister, my right honourable friend Mr Cameron highlighted the importance of national reconciliation and protection of human rights. In his statement of the same date the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right honourable friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague) stated the importance for the new Egyptian Government of upholding human rights, including the rights of religious minorities.

Ministers have raised the issue of sectarian violence in Egypt on a number of occasions with the Egyptian authorities. We have urged them to revisit policies which discriminate on the basis of religion, establish the conditions for pluralist and non-sectarian politics, and enshrine the freedom of religion for all faiths in the new constitution and in law. As transition continues in Egypt under Dr Morsi's presidency, we will continue to monitor the Government's approach towards all aspects of human rights, including those of religious minorities.

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