A report on monitoring the export rates of light weapons from the Czech Republic to Egypt (2017-2020)

Egyptian Front for Human Rights published a report on monitoring the export rates of light weapons from the Czech Republic to Egypt (2017-2020), based on analyzing the annual reports issued by the Czech Ministry of Industry and Trade from 2017 to 2020, in order to follow up on the rate of exporting light weapons to Egypt.

The Czech Republic continues to export light weapons to Egypt despite Egypt’s low human rights record. Besides knowing the possibility of using these weapons directly in internal repression and committing human rights violations. Indeed, evidence appeared to show that the Egyptian Security Forces had used Czech weapons in the violent dispersal of sit-ins in Rabaa Al-Adawiya and Al-Nahda squares. Besides the possibility of using these weapons in extrajudicial killings in North Sinai. In spite of that, the Czech Republic insists on putting its commercial interests first, in contravention to its international obligations regarding not exporting weapons to countries that might use them in human rights violations under the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). Also, the Czech turned a deaf ear to the issued resolutions of the European Union Foreign Affairs Council (FOC) which had called on the member states of the European Union to suspend exporting weapons to Egypt. 

In March 2021, 31 countries of the UN Human Rights Council issued a joint resolution condemning human rights violations committed by the Egyptian Authorities under the role of Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi. Countries expressed “deep concern” towards “restrictions imposed on freedom of opinion and expression, and the right to peaceful assembly. Together with restrictions on Civil Society and peaceful opposition”. In addition to the use of anti-terrorism laws to repress peaceful opponents, This decision has come after 8 years of  El- Sisi regime’s restriction on freedom of opinion, expression and peaceful assembly, by suppressing peaceful demonstrations and committing what was described as the biggest massacre in Egypt’s modern history in Rabaa Al-Adawiya and Al-Nahda squares on August 14, 2013, which resulted in the killing of at least 817 supporters of the ousted president Mohamed Morsi. 

Al-Sisi regime has established its role on anti-terrorism policies which are used to silence opponent voices and stifle the public sphere through arrest, arbitrary detention, and prolonged pretrial detention against political opponents, human rights defenders, journalists, academics, artists and others under charges related to terrorism. Besides convicting thousands in farcical trials which lack the most basic standards of a fair trial. Torture and enforced disappearance have become systematic practices used against prisoners of conscience. Also, their confessions extracted under torture have been used as evidence of conviction against them. Moreover, issuing mass death sentences and expediting the execution of death sentences in unprecedented ways. 

Under the same pretext of “the war on terror”, the Egyptian authorities practice grave human rights violations in North Sinai, after security forces have made an actual blockade on the region, which impedes an understanding of the nature of what is happening there. Human rights sources revealed that security forces in North Sinai had committed violations that may amount to war crimes against civilians, such as indiscriminate and extra-judicial killing against civilians, forced displacement, destruction of houses and properties, arbitrary detention and enforced disappearance. Besides establishing a blockade and restrictions on the freedom of movement which have caused an unprecedented food crisis and negatively affected citizens’ social and economic rights, specifically the right to food, water, education and work. 

In October, 2019, the Egyptian Front for Human Rights (EHFR) issued a report entitled “exporting violations” in October 2019 through which it had shed light on the operations of exporting light weapons from the Czech Republic to Egypt. This report had referred to the danger of these weapons despite their low cost as they may be used indirectly in local repression. The report followed up the increase in the operations of exporting light weapons from the Czech Republic to Egypt from 2012 to 2017. It already highlighted that the Egyptian security forces had used Czech weapons in the dispersal of Al-Nahda sit in, extrajudicial killing operations in North Sinai, and other repressive incidents,  

This report comes as a continuation of the “Exporting Violations” report, in order to follow up the rates of exporting light weapons from the Czech Republic to Egypt from 2017 to 2020. It also aims at considering whether the Czech Republic made any real revision for its policies in exporting weapons to Egypt, after the appearance of evidence that show the use of these weapons in grave human rights violations in Egypt. 

Theis report is divided into three parts. The first part provides an overview concerning the most prominent human rights violations in Egypt under the role of al-Sisi. The second part sheds light on the results reached by the previous report “Exporting Violations”, regarding the continuation of exporting weapons from the Czech Republic to Egypt. In addition to the Egyptian Front’s evidence regarding the use of Czech weapons in internal repression in Egypt. As for the third part, it compares the export rate of light weapons from the Czech to Egypt from 2017 to the end of 2020, and the same rate from 2012 to 2017. 

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