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ICC Note:

A report by Human Rights Watch has reported discrimination against Christians and other minorities in Egypt.

1/24/2011 Egypt (AFP) — The US-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) accused Egypt of “widespread discrimination” against its Christian and other religious minorities in its annual report for 2010 released on Monday, which also highlights repression of political dissent.

“Although Egypt’s constitution provides for equal rights without regard to religion, there is widespread discrimination against Egyptian Christians, as well as official intolerance of heterodox Muslim sects,” HRW said.

Egypt’s Christians, who make up around 10 percent of the 80-million population, complain of systematic discrimination and exclusion from high-level public posts.

Coptic Christians have been the target of several attacks and say the government has failed to acknowledge and deal with the country’s sectarian problem.

On New Year’s day, more than 20 people were killed in an attack on a church in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria, one year after six Copts and a Muslim policeman were gunned down in a Christmas attack.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has fiercely rejected Western calls for the protection of Egypt’s Christian minority as an interference in domestic affairs.

“I say to those, some from friendly countries, who call for the protection of Copts of Egypt, I say to them that the time for foreign protection and tutelage is gone, and will not return.

“We will not accept any pressure or interference in Egypt’s affairs,” he said in a speech on Sunday to mark Police Day.

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