Coptic Solidarity Stresses the Adoption of "Affirmative Action" in Egypt's Constitution

Nov 21, 2013, 08:37 ET from Coptic Solidarity

WASHINGTON, Nov. 21, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Coptic Solidarity stresses that the Constitutional committee drafting Egypt's constitution adopt Affirmative Action measures for the benefit of women and Copts. This should be a national priority to alleviate the grievances accumulated over the past decades, which will be perpetuated unless addressed in the new constitution.

While Copts represent 12-15% of the country's population, the percentage of elected parliamentarian Copts has not exceeded one percent in any assembly since 1952, and was nil in 1995. By comparison, their number was mostly around 8-10%, and seldom below 4%, in the preceding three decades.  Women (who attained suffrage in 1956) fare better, but remain seriously under-represented.

Affirmative Action is a democratic tool in line with international treaties on minorities and the jurisprudence of modern international law. It has been applied by several democracies across the world, as a representative system cannot be genuinely democratic unless minorities are fairly represented.

The leading Egyptian jurist Dr. Mahmoud Azmi, who represented Egypt in preparing and adopting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), called for the principle of "fair and comprehensive national representation." This necessitates the integration of the various components of the nation through their full participation in political positions and in parliamentary representation, in order to reach true equality in practice.

Coptic Solidarity calls upon all democratic and reform elements to advocate for equitable representation in the new constitution by setting a minimum quota in parliamentary seats and political positions. This temporary measure, applicable for at least ten years, should consist of 10% representation for Copts and 20% for women. Legislation would later determine the appropriate mechanisms to achieve this objective.

Furthermore, unambiguous language on absolute equality between all citizens irrespective of race, gender, and belief is imperative for any true reform to occur in Egypt.

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

SOURCE Coptic Solidarity