Hilary Clinton must reveal destination of ship carrying American weapons

The US Navy's Military Sealift Command this afternoon confirmed that a ship with a cargo of US military weapons was en route to Port Said, in Egypt, but insisted the weapons would not be off-loaded in an Egyptian port. The weapons were on-board the “MV Schippersgracht", a Dutch-flagged vessel which left the USA on the 3 March.

The statement came after Amnesty International raised concerns that there was a substantial risk that the weapons would be used by the Egyptian security forces to commit serious human rights violations.

The US authorities acknowledged that the Dutch ship is carrying US military cargo but refused to confirm the final destination or recipient of the weapons, citing “security reasons”. Nor did they provide 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.

Amnesty is urging US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to reveal the final recipient of the cargo and to give an assurance that this, and other US military cargoes, is not bound for any country where the recipients are likely to use the weapons to commit or facilitate serious violations of human rights.  The organisation further calls on Secretary Clinton to stop funding Egypt's weapons purchases with US military aid in all cases where there is a substantial risk those weapons would be used in violations of human rights.

Amnesty said this episode is a clear example of the urgent need for the establishment and implementation of an effective global Arms Treaty, so that there can be transparency in arms transfers and rules to ensure that arms are not transferred to forces where there is a substantial risk of their deployment to commit gross human rights violations.

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