ACM attends DFAT Human Rights NGO Forum in Canberra

David Fouad

On the 8th of February, David Fouad represented the Australian Coptic Movement Association at the 2016 Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) NGO forum on Human Rights. The meeting was chaired by First Assistant Secretary of the Multilateral Policy Division, Dr. Lachlan Strahan and Mr. Kevin Playford of the Human Rights Branch. Also in attendance was the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Hon. Julie Bishop, MP.

During the forum the status of indigenous Christian minorities in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region was addressed in light of the recent attacks on Coptic Christians in Libya and Egypt, as well as the ongoing persecution of Assyrian Christians in Iraq and Syria.

Dr. Strahan made it clear that Australia is very concerned about the persecution of minority groups in the MENA region, that it has supported UN statements which have condemned these abuses, and has also raised the issue with ambassadors on multiple occasions. While explaining that the situation in Egypt has improved for the Coptic minority since President Sisi came to power, he admitted that there was still much work to be done. In particular, when asked about the current blasphemy law in the region, Mr. Playford said that he would look into the issue and that it would be taken on notice.

We would like to thank DFAT for their invitation to the forum and look forward to contributing to future meetings with the Australian government.

David Fouad

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