Tisková zpráva - 16.8.2013

Czech Arms Play Significant Part in the Bloody Conflict in Egypt

Czech Arms Play Significant Part in the Bloody Conflict in Egypt
Press release NESEHNUTI, 15/08/2013

Arms and ammunition from The Czech Republic was most likely used during yesterday’s military action against demonstrators in Egypt leaving hundreds dead. According to the statistics the Czech Republic has long been arming Egypt and is one of its biggest suppliers of ammunition for small firearms. The attention to this fact was pointed out by NESEHNUTI, whose member happens to be in Cairo now.

According to the statistics recently published by The Guardian [1] the Czech Republic is one of the biggest suppliers of ammunition for small firearms for Egypt. In 2011 The Czech Republic exported to Egypt over 4 million units of small arms ammunition. These units may have been used yesterday by the Egyptian security forces during its action against the supporters of Mursi. However, the Czech Republic exported to Egypt much more – after including all other items of military materiel not mentioned by The Guardian but which can be found in the statistics of Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic [2] – the sum arrived at is 4.5 million Euros. Thus Egypt can be found in the first dozen of largest arms importers from the Czech Republic.

The Czech exports are far from over – in May this year Ceska zbrojovka a.s. from Uhersky Brod equipped the Egyptian Ministry of Interior with 50 thousand pistols [3], hundreds of Scorpion submachine guns and probably also with some assault rifles [4]. Again these are all guns which usage in today’s bloody clashes in Cairo and elsewhere is highly questionable. The company signed the contract for a year so it is not possible to rule out that it is supplying arms to Egypt right now.

„The Czech Republic repeatedly proves that it prefers short-term economic profit instead of protection of civilian lives and human rights, “says Peter Tkac of NESEHNUTI, which has focused on the Czech arms exports in the long term. Directly in Cairo, in the Giza district, where the military action took place, Milan Stefanec of NESEHNUTI is present (his complete statement to be found here [5]): „Yesterday from morning till evening there was very heavy army presence of helicopters, army vehicles, soldiers, police and special forces too, which destroyed the camp of the anti-government protesters while one could hear constant gunfire. Due to the severity of this military action it is clear that the casualties will go into hundreds of dead and thousands of injured. The Czech Republic sold arms to the former dictator Mubarak as well as to his successors, who toppled him recently. Now it supplies arms to the new regime. As a citizen of the Czech Republic I am deeply ashamed that the Czech state has its share in the massacres happening here right now. “In NESEHNUTI´s opinion the Czech Republic by exporting to Egypt breached the common standards of EU for arms exports and control. These standards oblige the member states to turn down the export license if there is an apparent risk that the military material would be used for internal repression [6]. For instance the United Kingdom halted its arms exports to Egypt in fear of their use and abuse against demonstrators [7].

„ The Czech Republic should stop all its planned arms exports to the area at this very moment. It is not possible to support a military regime by selling arms when these are then used to kill its citizens. The last thing Egypt needs right now is more guns, “says Peter Tkac to the Czech authorities responsible. „Egypt is not the only problematic country. The Czech state has been exporting to countries under dictatorships or to countries which violate human rights severely [8]. It is necessary to increase the transparency of the licensing process for exporting arms from the Czech Republic. The process must be controlled by the parliament as well as the public. The Czech Republic should also stand up to its international contractual obligations in the field of arms exports control. “

 

Contacts:

Peter Tkac, campaign coordinator in NESEHNUTI, „Arms or Human Rights? “, 736 704 785, peter@nesehnuti.cz, twitter: @PetoTkac

Milan Stefanec, NESEHNUTI, +201200894991 (Egyptian phone number), twitter: @milanstefanec

Notes:

[1] The Guardian – Arms sales to Egypt – interactive

[2] The Ministry of Trade and Industry of the Czech Republic- The Annual Report 2011 (in czech):

[3] iDnes.cz – Ceska zbrojovka won a huge contract in Egypt, it will supply it with 50 thousand pistols (in czech)

[4] Armádní noviny.cz – Machine guns Scorpion EVO 3A1 for Egypt (in czech):

[5] Statement by Milan Stefanec from Cairo:

„Yesterday from morning till evening there was very heavy army presence of helicopters, army vehicles, soldiers, police and special forces too, which destroyed the camp of the anti-government protesters while one could hear constant gunfire. Due to the severity of this military action it is clear that the casualties will go into hundreds of dead and thousands of injured. At night the city was placed under curfew, the army patrols the streets so there has been peace so far. The Army attempts to isolate Cairo from the rest of the country, it closed some parts of the city and it blocks main roads and bridges. Despite this violent clashes spread into other cities in the country. Apart from reinforced propaganda on the state television which defends the measures taken by the military, there has been censorship in other media. The violent clashed are likely to continue on Friday, which is a traditional day for demonstrations to take place especially after the prayers. I am afraid that the brutal military action leaving hundreds of dead and further strengthening of the military government will become a viable argument for that part of the Islamic opposition which refuses political dialogue and prefers military resistance. Arms and gunmen can join in from neighbouring Libya and parts of the Sinai Peninsula which border on the Gaza strip. The Czech Republic sold arms in huge quantities to the former dictator Mubarak as well as to his successors, who toppled him recently. Now it supplies arms to the new regime. As a citizen of the Czech Republic I am deeply ashamed that the Czech state has its share in the massacres happening here right now.”

[6] COMMON POSITION 2008/944/CFSP

[7] The Guardian – UK halts export of arms components to Egypt due to fears over state force

[8] National report of czech Social Watch coalition for 2012 (in czech)

NESEHNUTÍ – INDEPENDENT SOCIAL ECOLOGICAL MOVEMENT

The non-governmental non-profit organization NESEHNUTÍ was established in Brno (Czech republic) in 1997 and since then has aimed at involving the general public in decision-making processes and organize educational activities about important social topics, e.g. protecting the environment,
human rights and equal opportunities.
The objective of our activities is to show that social change based on respect for people, animals and nature is possible and must come from below first–from active people who are interested in what’s happening in the world around them. Social change is possible from people who recognize that shared responsibility for life on our planet is an inextricable part of their freedom.

Attachement:

 

egypt_2003_2011_barplot

Source: The Ministry of Trade and Industry of the Czech Republic- The Annual Report 2011