Amnesty: Egypt has failed to protect Christians

Amnesty: Egypt has failed to protect ChristiansAmnesty International on Wednesday blamed the Egyptian government for failing to protect hundreds of Coptic Christians who fled their homes in northern Sinai after a series of attacks by Islamic State militants.

"The Egyptian authorities must offer urgent protection to Coptic Christians in North Sinai and provide essential services and accommodation to hundreds who were forced to flee their homes, after seven people from the community were killed in a series of attacks there over the past month," Amnesty International said.

The London-based rights group said the government has failed to take action to protect Christians in North Sinai who have increasingly faced kidnapping and assassinations by armed groups over the past three years. The authorities have also failed to prosecute those responsible for sectarian attacks against Christians, resorting instead to state-sponsored reconciliation agreements which have involved the forced eviction of Christian families from their homes.

Some 150 Christian families have fled from the northern Sinai city of el-Arish in recent days. IS militants have vowed to continue targeting Christians.

“This terrifying wave of attacks has seen Coptic Christians in North Sinai hunted down and murdered by armed groups. No one should face discrimination - let alone violent and deadly attacks - because of their religious beliefs,” said Najia Bounaim, Deputy Director for Campaigns at Amnesty International’s regional office in Tunis.

"The government has a clear duty to ensure safe access to housing, food, water and medical and other essential services to all those who have been forced to leave their homes due to violence and persecution," she added.
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