Middle East Transparent
24 October 04
شفــــاف الشــــرق الأوســــط
On the sidelines of the first Coptic
When I attended the Coptic
In point of fact, I have always avoided the persecution word while dealing with the Coptic file. I felt that it was wiser not to rush to use a word which carried tragic, bloody intonations that could not in all fairness describe the state of affairs of Copts, and does not place the Coptic issue in its proper perspective.
It appears though that many of the
concepts and terms which dominate our national and cultural milieu carry
local intonations and do not conform to internationally acknowledged
definitions. This notwithstanding the fact that the relevant official
This discrepancy particularly
applies to the term ‘persecution’ when used in connection to Copts. Until I
I herewith quote excerpts from the paper as follows:
The study explores the significance of the
definition of persecution as
defined in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. According to
the statute, persecution is
categorised as a crime against humanity.
The study dissects and examines the elements of this crime as to their
applicability to the status of
· Persecution is normally related to action by the authorities of a country. It may also emanate from sections of the population that do not respect the standards of the laws of the country concerned. A case in point may be religious intolerance where a sizeable fraction of the population does not respect the religious beliefs of their neighbours. Where serious discriminatory or other offensive acts are committed by the local populace, they can be considered as persecution if they are knowingly tolerated by the authorities, or if the authorities refuse, or prove unable to offer effective protection to the victims.
For long, the status of Copts and their
· Elements of persecution involve the following:
Since the 1970s Islamic militant groups have attacked innocent Coptic civilians leaving scores dead, hundreds injured, and countless businesses, homes, and churches destroyed. Even so, the courts did not issue a single murder or assault conviction. While the Islamists have targeted figures of authority and government officials as well, Copts remain the sole victims whose attackers were not brought to justice.
It is thus clear that the hatred, rejection,
ridicule, evasion and marginalisation inflicted upon Copts because of their
faith, whether at the hands of individuals, groups, or officials, and before
which the government stands unable to protect or vindicate them,
can—according to international statutes signed by