Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Monday, October 01, 2007

ILO report documents discrimination against Egyptian Copts

According to a recent report from the International Labor Organization (ILO) entitled “Discrimination at Work in the Middle East and North Africa,” Egyptian Copts are among the most targeted groups in the region, the Egyptian weekly Watani reported.

The ILO report says that: “One of the most resilient forms of discrimination is the targeting of Copts in Egypt, who are denied equal access to education and equal opportunities in recruitment and promotion. Very few are appointed to key positions in the Government or are candidates for parliament.”

Instead of taking action to correct the situation, the Egyptian government responded defensively and has denied the ILO’s claims.

According to Watani’s Adel Guindy: “It is not unusual for Egyptian officials to excel in denying the obvious and indulge in bullying international organizations that dare to point to Egypt where its policies and practices are clearly substandard in comparison with the accepted, and universal, Human Rights conventions.”

Guindy points out ten examples of recent government reports that substantiate the ILO claims, writing that: “We simply need to examine a number of reports published between June and August 2007 regarding promotion and transfer of personnel in various public positions.” Among the examples: “A list (according to Watani, July 26) showed 425 graduate students nominated to be sent abroad at the government’s expense for higher studies. It included only one Copt.”

Guindy argues that: “It is, hence, not at all an exaggeration to conclude that discrimination against Copts in Egypt is not only systematically applied; it may have become a pillar of the prevailing political system. But unlike South Africa’s defunct Apartheid regime (1948 - 1996) which never hid its ugly face, Egypt’s is a case of ultimate ingenuity in hypocrisy: Routinely practiced, while being adamantly denied!”

For the full article, click here.

For the ILO report, click here.

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