Contact: Sharon Singh, [email protected], 202-675-8579
(Washington, D.C.) — The U.S. Navy's Military Sealift Command insisted this afternoon that a cargo of weapons with explosives on the ship MV Schippersgracht, in route to Port Said, would not be off-loaded in any Egyptian port. The statement came after Amnesty International raised concerns earlier today that if the weapons ended up in Egypt there was a substantial risk they would be used by security forces to commit serious human rights violations.
The U.S. authorities did confirm that the Dutch ship is carrying U.S. military cargo. But the United States refused to confirm the final destination or recipient of the weapons, citing security reasons, nor did they give assurances that the cargo would not end up in a country where the weapons are likely to be used to commit gross human rights violations.
This episode is a clear example of the urgent need for the establishment and implementation of an effective global Arms Trade Treaty, so that there can be transparency in arms transfers and rules to ensure that arms are not transferred from any country to forces who pose a substantial risk of using them to commit human rights violations.
Amnesty International is urging U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to clarify who is the final recipient of the latest cargo shipment and to give assurance that this and other U.S. military cargoes are not going to any country where the recipients are likely to use the weapons to facilitate serious human rights violations. The organization also calls on Secretary Clinton to stop funding Egypt's weapons purchases with U.S. military aid in any case where there is substantial risk those weapons would be used to violate human rights.
Between December 11, 2011 and February 5, 2012, the Egyptian Procurement Office (EPO) of the Armament Authority, Ministry of Defense, shipped a total of 349 tons of military and dual use equipment, with a value of at least $35 million, supplied on seven U.S.-flagged cargo ships managed by American President Lines Maritime Ltd. Equipment on these seven cargo ships included military spare parts and components for electronic equipment, tactical and support vehicles, tanker vehicles, armored vehicles and tanks, spare parts for AH-64 Apache, H-3 and SH-2G(E) helicopters.
Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 3 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom and dignity are denied.