WASHINGTON, Sept. 24, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Coptic Solidarity applauds the passage of HR 301 on September 18th. This bill, which passed by an overwhelming vote of 402 to 22, provides for the establishment of a Special Envoy to promote religious freedom of religious minorities in the Near East and South Central Asia and demonstrates great bipartisan support for the creation of this position at the State Department.
Coptic Solidarity expresses our special gratitude to Representative Frank Wolf and Representative Anna Eshoo for sponsoring HR 301 and their tireless determination to ensure that the US government does more to protect religious minorities in this region, including Egypt's indigenous Coptic Christians.
Discrimination and violent persecution of Christians, Baha'i, Shia, Ahmadi and other minority religious groups is growing at an alarming rate throughout the region. US policy decisions and intervention in the region have not only failed to stop this, but often aided and abetted the chief perpetrators.
As argued by Wolf and Eshoo, while Special Envoy would not solve all problems for religious minorities in this region, it would help with the creation of policy options to preserve ancient faith communities and convey that the US remains committed to the principals of religious freedom and human rights.
The next hurdle is to move the Senate version of this bill, S. 653 through committee and then to a vote. Senator Roy Blunt introduced this bill with the original sponsorship of Senators Blumenthal and Levin.
Coptic Solidarity urges Senate Committee on Foreign Relations Chair, Robert Menendez and Ranking Member Bob Corker to move S. 653 to committee mark-up. The bill already has wide bi-partisan support with twelve cosponsors.
Coptic Solidarity is a proponent of the creation of a Special Envoy position to provide a high-level spokesperson within the US government and with foreign governments. There has been resistance within the State Department, yet precedent exists for the appointment of Special Envoys such as for Sudan and North Korea. The position is not redundant to the Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom, but would compliment her efforts through a focus on protection of religious minorities and addressing their socio-economic needs that result from persecution.
Coptic Solidarity is non-profit organization dedicated to leading efforts to achieve equal citizenship for the Copts in Egypt. For more information, contact Hal Meawad 240-644-5153 or firstname.lastname@example.org
SOURCE Coptic Solidarity