Media Contact: Shelly Han
WASHINGTON—The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (U.S. Helsinki Commission) announced today the following hearing:
“From Arab Spring to Coptic Winter: Sectarian Violence and the Struggle for Democratic Transition in Egypt”
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Room 210 Cannon House Office Building
Please join the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe for a heaing that explores the nexus between sectarian violence and democracy.
On Sunday October 9, 2011, 25 people were killed and more than 300 injured when the Egyptian military attacked a peaceful group of Coptic Christians protesting the burning of a church in Aswan. In what has been deemed the “Massacre at Maspero,” referring to the location of the demonstration, witnesses say the army fired on the demonstrators with live ammunition and plowed into the crowd with armored vehicles. The military denied the use of live ammunition and claimed that their soldiers were attacked by an armed mob. The military has arrested at least 28 people, almost all Copts, including prominent blogger Alaa Abdel Fattah, and brought them before military prosecutors. The hearing will focus on violence perpetrated against the Coptic Christians in Egypt, the implications of the events for that community and the current Egyptian leadership, and prospects for the consolidation of democracy in Egypt.
Witnesses Scheduled to Appear:
Mr. Michael H. Posner, Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, Department of State
Ms. Dina Guirguis, Egyptian democracy activist and attorney and member of the Egyptian American Rule of Law Association (EARLA)
Mr. Samuel Tadros, Research Fellow, Center for Religious Freedom, Hudson Institute
Dr. Michele Dunne, Director, Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East, Atlantic Council
The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the U.S. Helsinki Commission, is an independent agency of the Federal Government charged with monitoring compliance with the Helsinki Accords and advancing comprehensive security through promotion of human rights, democracy, and economic, environmental and military cooperation in 56 countries. The Commission consists of nine members from the U.S. Senate, nine from the House of Representatives, and one member each from the Departments of State, Defense, and Commerce.