Monica Mikhail and Peter Tadros from the Australian Coptic Movement (ACM) have today met with Senator Carr to discuss affairs in the Middle East.
ACM engaged in frank discussion with Senator Carr and conveyed its concerns regarding public statements made in support of former President Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood.
Senator Carr defended his description of the recent uprising as a “military coup”. He stated that the Australian Government could not call a deposition of a democratically elected government by military forces otherwise. However, Senator Carr did acknowledge the millions of protestors calling for President Morsi’s deposal. The ACM updated Senator Carr on the recent appointment of Cabinet Ministers and highlighted the positive inclusion of three women and several Christians in the Ministry.
The ACM discussed the rise in attacks against Egypt’s Coptic Christians since the Tamarod Uprising, citing the attacks against Copts in Sinai, Luxor and Al-Minya where many have been killed and properties destroyed. The ACM also referred to the ongoing incitement against Copts by hard-line islamists and provided Senator Carr with names of several Muslim Brotherhood members responsible for such incitement.
Senator Carr emphatically reiterated his support for Egypt’s Copts. Senator Carr expressed that his primary objective for meeting President Morsi in Cairo last year was to raise the plight of religious minorities in Egypt. He highlighted that Australia had other motivation (such as trade or investment) to engage in talks with the Egyptian Government.
We advised Senator Carr that we were grateful for his ongoing support and requested practical measures to address the increasing threat currently facing Copts in Egypt.
The ACM also took the opportunity to discuss the plight of other Christians in the MENA region, in particular Syria’s Christian minority and the atrocities committed. ACM expressed its concerns of the United States funding of Syrian groups who commit such crimes. Senator Carr noted that he shared our concerns.
Recommendations made to Senator Carr included the following:
1. Take necessary steps to make a referral to the UN Human Rights Council and request a “commission of enquiry” to be established in respect of atrocities committed against Coptic Christians where the judicial system has failed to punish those responsible;
2. Call on Egyptian President Chief Justice Adly Mansour to end the persecution and violence perpetrated against the Coptic Christian community and to bring those responsible to justice;
Other recommendations were made concerning social projects and funding for NGO’s who advocate for human rights in Egypt.
As a result of the meeting, Senator Carr indicated that he will request a full report from the Australian Ambassador in Cairo on the issues raised at the meeting, particularly in relation to recent targeted threats against Coptic Christians.