The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights said that three years after its adoption, the church construction law has failed to end violations of Christians’ right to worship and address related sectarian tensions. It criticized the security apparatus for shutting down church buildings and thereby prohibiting many Copts in Egyptian villages from engaging in collective worship.
Files: Coptic Church
EIPR condemns closure of the Naga al-Ghafir church in Sohag by security and documents closure of 22 churches since enactment of the church construction law; demands reopening of closed churches and a decree regularizing the status of all churches that filed papers with the regularization committee
The EIPR believes that such a decree would most faithfully enact the provisions of the church construction law, however flawed, as well as treat the causes of sectarian violence, which is largely rooted in bureaucratic obstruction and clear recalcitrance on the part of the security apparatus.
The report covers the period from September 28, 2017, the end of the deadline for the submission of applications for legal status, to the end of October 2018. Reviewing the two decrees issued by the committee and offering a documentary narrative of the sectarian attacks and security violations connected to Christian citizens worshipping in existing churches that submitted the necessary papers to the legalization committee.
What happened in Dimshaw Hashim is not a unique case, but a recurrent pattern in a number of governorates that has been going on recently, manifested in closing a number of existing churches and them being unable to settle their legal status.
The EIPR found that from September 28, 2016, when the church construction law was issued, to April 2018, state institutions have shuttered 14 existing churches that were hosting religious services prior to the closure orders. Four of these churches were closed this year, with Copts denied access to them and prayer services in them prohibited.
It has been one year since Coptic citizens were displaced from Arish amid violent attacks that targeted many inside their homes. In this report the EIPR documents the living conditions of displaced Copts, looking at any assistance offered by state institutions and whether any genuine measures have been taken to realize justice and provide restitution to these citizens.
A year after the displacement, the security situation remains unstable and Christians are not afforded a minimum level of protection. The displaced families are therefore unable to return to Arish, and in some cases people who decided to return were targeted and killed by masked men.
The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights is deeply concerned about the judgment issued yesterday by the Atfih Misdemeanor Court in the Giza governorate in case no.
On September 28, 2016, Law 80/2016 was adopted to regulate the construction and renovation of churches and their annexes. State officials, parliamentarians, and some sectors of the Christian ecclesiastical leadership heralded the new law as a solution to the long-standing difficulties of building or renovating churches.