“Exporting violations: An outlook on the status of exporting light weapons from the Czech Republic to Egypt”

The Czech Republic is one of two main sources for light eapons in Egypt, which include automatic rifles, grenades and pistols, some of which are likely to be used by the Egyptian authorities for direct oppression and human rights violations in Egypt. The proceeds of arms exports to Egypt have increased significantly since 2013. While the Czech Republic exported arms worth 5 million euros in 2012, this figure tripled in 2013, with Egypt importing more than 24 million euros worth of arms from the Czech Republic. While the peak of arms exports to Egypt is in 2017, as exports amounted to more than 41 million euros.

Moreover, the licenses granted to export arms to Egypt have increased significantly, especially between 2013-2016 compared to 2012. In 2012, 21 licenses to export arms to Egypt were approved by the Czech government. This number rose to 32 in 2013, the same year of Rabaa`s sit-in violent dispersal, the military coup and the EU arms embargo. In 2014 and 2015, as human rights violations escalated in Egypt, the Czech government agreed to give 26 and 28 licenses to export arms to Egypt. More dangerously, the Egyptian Ministry of Military Production is in the process of obtaining a license to manufacture a number of tactical weapons inside the military factories in Egypt, mainly the CZ 807 rifle

The seriousness of acquiring these weapons and their use by the Egyptian Ministry of the Interior stems from the fact that this ministry is directly responsible for internal repression and human rights violations in Egypt. Our monitoring revealed that the first time Czech weapons appeared with members of the Egyptian Ministry of Interior was during the violent dispersal of the Nahda53 sit-in on August 14, 2013, which left at least 90 people killed and 613 wounded. Other photos confirm that the interior ministry used the same weapon CZ Scorpion Evo 3 A1 in violent oppressive acts towards the opposition following July 2013. Czech arms are also widely used by Egyptian security forces in Sinai, where many documented liquidations and extrajudicial killings are executed by security forces.

Based on the above, the Egyptian Front recommends that:

1-      The Czech government must halt its export of light weapons to Egypt as they are used in committing violations and suspend its support for the Egyptian government in committing more atrocities.

2-      The Czech Ministry of Industry and Trade must abide by transparency regarding its arms trade and disclose details of deals and transactions with Egypt as well as a clarification of the standards followed before releasing export licenses, and the extent of its monitoring of the Egyptian authorities usages of these arms in committing rights violations.

3-      The Czech Parliament has to establish an independent committee with the participation of civil society organisations to monitor arms deals concluded by the Ministry of Industry and Trade with the Egyptian government in order to maintain that the government commits to the Arms Trade Treaty and its commitment as a Member State of the EU.

4-      The European Parliament must ensure that Member States comply with the EU’s Unified Position, the resolutions of the EU Council and the European Parliament, and adopt binding legal formulas for Member States prohibiting them from exporting weapons to States where the authorities carry out internal repression and violations of human rights.

5-      The Egyptian government must immediately stop its violations against Egyptian citizens and refrain from holding the slogan of the “War on terror” to justify such violations.

 

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