MEPs strongly condemn the killing of peaceful protesters in Egypt and Syria and call on both countries’ authorities to protect Christian communities, in a resolution passed on Thursday.
The resolution on the situation in Egypt and Syria, in particular of Christian communities, was adopted by a show of hands.
Since March 2011, tens of thousands of Coptic Christians have reportedly left Egypt. On 9 October, at least 25 were killed and more than 300 wounded in Cairo during a peaceful march organised by Copts.
Parliament strongly condemns the killing of protestors in Egypt, and stresses the importance of an independent and transparent investigation.
Authorities should ensure that Copts do not fall victim to violent attacks and can live in peace and freely express their beliefs throughout the country, the resolution says. MEPs call for protection of churches, to put an end to their destruction and to continuous aggression by Islamic extremists.
MEPs are concerned about the kidnapping of Coptic girls who have been forced to convert to Islam. They add that Egyptian authorities must end discrimination against Coptic Christians. Parliament considers that the EU should take measures if serious human rights violations occur in Egypt.
Egypt’s Supreme Council of the Armed Forces should put an end to the emergency law and to military trials of civilians immediately, as it violates the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly, MEPs underline.
MEPs are also deeply concerned about the situation of Christians in Syria. The resolution notes that thousands of Iraqi Christians went to Syria to escape targeted violence in Iraq. Nevertheless, the Christian population in Syria may have dropped from 10% to 8% of the total.
Parliament condemns actions inciting inter-confessional conflict, urges Syrian authorities to provide reliable and efficient protection for the Christian communities, and expresses support for Christians in the country.
It also condemns the brutal use of force by Syrian authorities against protesters, pro-democracy activists, human rights defenders, journalists, and medical personnel, and reiterates that President Bashar al-Assad and his regime must relinquish power immediately.
Finally, MEPs believe that the EU should further encourage and support the emergence of organised Syrian democratic opposition forces both within and outside the country.