Egypt

House of Lords written question – answered on 10th April 2013.

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Photo of Lord Patten Lord Patten Conservative

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of the state of police relations with religious minorities in Egypt and their effect on religious freedoms.

Photo of Lord Newby Lord Newby Lords Spokesperson (HM Treasury) (Whip), Captain of the Queen's Bodyguard of the Yeomen of the Guard (HM Household) (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Lords)

Reform of the security sector was a key demand of the 25 January 2011 revolution. Since then there has been ongoing tension between the police and sections of society. We do not assess that religious minorities have been a particular aspect of this.

However, throughout the period of transition, we have raised with the Egyptian Government the issue of respect for human rights in general and the dangers of sectarianism in particular. We have encouraged the Egyptian authorities to ensure respect for minority rights and accountability of the security forces be enshrined in the Constitution.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my honourable friend Mr Burt, visited Egypt on 13-15 March and urged the Egyptian authorities to improve the human rights situation. We also have an ongoing dialogue with the Egyptian authorities on the importance of reforming the security apparatus to ensure compliance with human rights and the rule of law.

At a wider level, my noble friend the Senior Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Baroness Warsi, attended the Organisation of Islamic Co-operation summit in Cairo on 6 and 7 February to deliver a speech on the importance of freedom of religion or belief and tackling religious intolerance.

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