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Amnesty Urges Clinton To Reveal Target Of US Military Cargo On Board Dutch Ship

Amnesty International has urged U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to clarify who is the final recipient of a U.S. military cargo on board a Dutch ship in the Mediterranean.

The U.S. Navy's Military Sealift Command has insisted that the cargo of weapons with explosives on the ship MV Schippersgracht en route to Port Said would not be offloaded in any Egyptian port.

The statement came after Amnesty raised concerns on Thursday that if the weapons ended up in Egypt there was a substantial risk that they would be used by security forces to commit serious human rights violations.

Amnesty said the U.S. authorities had confirmed that the Dutch ship was carrying U.S. military cargo but refused to confirm the final destination or recipient of the weapons, citing security reasons. Nor did they give assurances that the cargo would not end up in country where the weapons are likely to be used to commit gross human rights violations.

Amnesty demanded an assurance that this and other U.S. military cargoes are not going to any country where the recipients are likely to use the weapons to commit or facilitate serious human rights violations. It called on Clinton to stop funding Egypt's weapons purchases with U.S. military aid in all cases where there is a substantial risk those weapons would be used for serious violations of human rights.

This episode is a clear example of the urgent need for the establishment and implementation of an effective global Arms Trade Treaty, the London-based human rights watchdog said. This is to ensure transparency in arms transfers and rules to ensure that arms are not transferred from any country to forces who pose a substantial risk of using them to commit gross human rights violations, it added.

Between December 11, 2011 and February 5, 2012 the Egyptian Procurement Office (EPO) of the Armament Authority shipped a total of 349 tons of military and dual use equipment with a value estimated at least $35 million supplied on seven U.S.-flagged cargo ships, which are managed by American President Lines Maritime Ltd.

Equipment on these seven cargo ships included military spare parts and components for electronic equipment, tactical and support vehicles, tanker vehicles, armored vehicles and tanks, spare parts for AH-64 Apache, H-3 and SH-2G(E) helicopters, according to Amnesty.

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