Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Selling Repression

Despite the suspension imposed after more than 600 anti-coup protesters were killed by security forces in Cairo in August 2013, 12 EU members, including Bulgaria, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK remain among Egypt’s main suppliers of arms and policing equipment, flouting an EU-wide suspension on arms transfers to Egypt a human rights group said in a statement. They risk complicity in a wave of unlawful killings, enforced disappearances, and torture, according to Amnesty International. The items that have been sold to Egypt by the EU states through exports and brokering have included: small arms, light weapons and ammunition; armoured vehicles; military helicopters; heavier weapons for use in counterterrorism and military operations, and surveillance technology.

"Almost three years on from the mass killings that led the EU to call on its member states to halt arms transfers to Egypt, the human rights situation has actually deteriorated," said Magdalena Mughrabi, interim deputy Middle East and North Africa programme director at Amnesty International.

"We would like to see an embargo on all items that are used by the internal security forces in these sorts of serious violations," Brian Wood, head of arms control and human rights at Amnesty International, told Al Jazeera. "We want perpetrators to be brought to justice because you cannot have a secure country without respect for human rights and the rule of law," Wood said. "The Egyptian government is on a completely wrong course." 

In 2015 alone, rights groups recorded more than 1,250 forced disappearances and 267 alleged extrajudicial killings, in addition to 40,000 political prisoners.

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