Amnesty International: Bulgaria Is One of Egypt's Biggest Arms Suppliers
In an article released on Wednesday, Amnesty International claims that thirteen of the EU's 28 member states have ignored EU-wide suspension on arms transfers to Egypt and remain among Cairo's main suppliers of arms and policing equipment.
The suspension was imposed after hundreds of protesters were killed by security forces in August 2013.
The human rights organisation expresses fears that the foreign ministers of EU member states could decide to scrap the current suspension, which has proven insufficient.
Despite the suspension, the human rights situation has deteriorated, with internal repression by security forces remaining rife.
There have been numerous instances of excessive use of force, unlawful killings, mass arbitrary arrests, torture and enforced disappearances.
In 2014 alone, EU member states authorised 290 licences for military equipment to Egypt, amounting to more than EUR 6 B.
The transfer of arms included the following items: small arms, light weapons and ammunition, armoured vehicles, military helicopters, heavier weapons for use in counter-terrorism and military operations and surveillance technology.
Apart from Bulgaria, the other EU member states that have been supplying arms to Egypt through exports or brokering since 2013 are: Cyprus, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Spain and the UK.
According to Amnesty International, Bulgaria issued a total of 59 licences exceeding EUR 51.6 M worth of military equipment to Egypt in 2014, with more than BGN 11 M being for small arms/light weapons and ammunition.
Among the exported arms to Egypt were 10 500 assault rifles, 300 light machine guns and 21 sub-machine guns.
The human rights organisation calls on the EU and all its member states to implement a binding embargo on transfers of security and policing equipment to Egypt of the types of arms used to commit or facilitate serious violations of human rights.
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