Amnesty calls for blocking Egypt-bound US weapons cargo

A ship carrying weapons, including explosives, en route from the US to Egypt must not be allowed to offload because of a substantial risk the weapons will be used by Egyptian security forces to commit human rights violations, Amnesty International said on Thursday.

The organization said in its statement that it has tracked the Dutch-flagged ship, MV Schippersgracht, for the past two months. It revealed that the ship is currently in the Mediterranean Sea and due to arrive in Egypt early next week.

“This ship of shame should not be allowed to unload its dangerous cargo in Egypt, and there is a substantial risk that this is what it plans to do,” said Brian Wood, Amnesty International’s Head of Arms Control.

“There is a clear pattern that weapons from previous ships have recently been used to commit serious human rights violations by the Egyptian security forces, and yet the US is recklessly sending a constant flow of arms to Egypt.”

In late November, Egyptian customs employees at a Suez port denied access to a US tear gas shipment that was going to the Interior Ministry. The shipment was widely believed to be meant for use against protesters during the clashes near the Interior Ministry’s building in downtown Cairo, which left dozens of protesters dead and witnessed an extensive use of tear gas against demonstrators.

Egyptian security forces’ use of ammunition is a clear example of the urgent need for the establishment and implementation of an effective global Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) which enters the final stage of crucial negotiations in July, the international organization said.

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