Coptic Women & Girls
Coptic Solidarity focused much of our attention and resources on Coptic women and girls in 2023. Coptic females suffer a double discrimination in that they are a religious minority, and also are not treated as equals with males. Our advocacy for women included:
- Partnered with a group of organizations at a UN Parallel event in November titled “Protect the Girl Child: Urgent Call to Action to Combat Slavery and Stem Kidnapping, Trafficking, Forced Marriage and Religious Conversions” where our president, Caroline Doss Esq., spoke about the plight of Coptic women and minor girls
- Published exclusive news and insight in both English and Arabic regarding how some Egyptian government officials and police collude in trafficking these women
- Submitted a joint written statement with Jubilee Campaign to the Human Rights Council in the 53rd Session of the UN on Trafficking of Coptic Christian Women and Girls in the Arab Republic of Egypt
- Published a review of the USCIRF’s new report, Personal Status and Family Law in the Middle East and North Africa which found “these laws have a particular and consequential impact on the rights of women, including their right to religious freedom.”
Coptic Rights as Indigenous Peoples
We added a new area of focus to demonstrate how Copts meet internationally recognized criteria as the indigenous peoples of Egypt, how the Egyptian government is currently violating their rights, and the international protections and charters that should be enforced for the protection of the Coptic culture, arts, language, history, buildings, artifacts, and persons.
- Attended the 22nd Session of the UNPFII Conference on Religious Minorities
- Published a new report Recognizing the Coptic “Indigenous Peoples” Status for Protection from State-Sponsored Discrimination
- Presented this new report to Francisco Cali Tzay, UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples and met with the UN Permanent Missions of 8 different countries to create awareness of the Coptic situation and build our international network
Advocacy with US Government & Legislators
- Published an analysis of the Egypt chapter of both the State Department’s and USCIRF’s annual IRF reports. Our consistency in publishing analyses has resulted in more accurate reporting on Copts in certain areas, as well as the inclusion of topics formerly excluded such as the abduction, forced marriage, and conversion of Coptic women.
- Published an analysis of USCIRF’s more comprehensive, Egypt Country Update
- Dedicated days of meeting with US Representatives and Senators to create awareness, update legislative champions, and to coordinate quiet diplomacy and public campaigns.
- Led initiative to create a statement and gather signatures by 86 NGOs, parliamentarians and former legislators, and experts, sent to Secretary Blinken, urging the immediate reinstatement of Patriarch Sako to his position as head of the Chaldean Church in Iraq.
11th Annual Conference
Coptic Solidarity hosted its 11th Annual Conference The Indigenous Copts: Past Denied and Future Unknown in Washington, DC June 15-16. The Policy Day was hosted in the US Capitol Visitor Center with the 2nd day of the conference hosted at a local hotel.
- Watch summary video of the conference
- View conference report which summarizes each keynote speaker and session, with video of the individual sessions.
Coptic Solidarity led advocacy efforts in the US to urge the reunification of Shenouda with his adoptive parents. While some legal issues are not resolved, the result is that Shenouda is at least temporarily reunited with his would-be adoptive parents.
- Launched an online grassroots advocacy campaign for Shenouda
- Coptic Solidarity and Jubilee Campaign cosponsored a multi-faith letter in coordination with the IRF Roundtable, regarding the situation of Baby Shenouda, which we sent to Secretary Blinken
Monitoring & Reporting on Systematic Discrimination And Attacks on Copts & Their Properties
- Submitted a report to the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, Ms. Nazila Ghanea, detailing how the Advocacy of Hatred Based on Religion or Belief in Egypt is taught and perpetuated by the Egyptian government.
- Reported in English regarding President El-Sisi’s appointing 100 vice-presidents of the State Council and just one was a Copt.
- Documented the continued destruction of Coptic Churches and denial of rights to repair and open closed churches, all in contravention of the 2016 Church Law
- Reported the pre-mediated murder of engineer and construction site supervisor, Fadi Nabil Mikhail, by a Muslim co-worker who hit him with the bucket of his bulldozer several times until he was crushed
Modern Coptic Martyrs
In 2015, we launched an annual initiative, the Modern Coptic Martyrs Remembrance Day, in recognition of the increasing number of Copts being killed for their faith.
- CS was the first organization to report in English that six Copts were abducted in Libya, tying it to the fate of the 21 martyrs, and calling for urgent intervention. Others picked up the story creating more pressure for the Egyptian and Libyan governments to intervene and rescue the six abducted Copts who were liberated and returned home.
- This year, we marked the anniversary of the 21 Martyrs in February and the Modern Coptic Martyrs Remembrance Day on October 9.