New evidence involvement Egyptian Navy in human rights violations

The Egyptian Navy is involved in human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law. This is again evident from a study by Lighthouse Reports about which the Volkskrant published an article this weekend.

The Netherlands, in light of the new evidence, should not be supplying weapons to the Egyptian regime under these circumstances. But the Dutch state has issued several arms export licenses to Egypt in recent years. PILP-NJCM therefore brought proceedings against the Dutch State in November 2021 on behalf of PAX, Stop Arms Trade and the Dutch Lawyers’ Committee for Human Rights.

Arresting fishing boats from Gaza
The investigation published this weekend by the Volkskrant shows that the Egyptian navy is involved in boarding fishing boats from Gaza. As a result, these fishermen can no longer fish off the coast of Gaza, an area that is also further cut off from the outside world. In doing so, the Egyptian Navy is contributing to a violation of the law of war: it is forbidden to use a blockade as punishment against the population of occupied territory, which is the Gaza Strip.

In this blockade, the Egyptian navy also uses force – several fishermen were killed by the naval units, according to several witnesses. Several other unarmed fishermen from Gaza were shot at, detained or mistreated by the Egyptian navy.

Military operations Sinai
In addition, the Egyptian Navy is conducting military operations in the North Sinai, in which serious human rights violations are also taking place, according to several sources. This is done by special forces units of the Egyptian Navy. These are supported from ships equipped with so-called command, communications, control equipment (C3 systems) that are similar to the systems that the Netherlands will now implement. It was previously announced that the C3 systems will be built into frigates that can also be used to support these types of special forces.

No arms supply to Egypt
The research confirms what PAX, Stop Arms Trade and NJCM already brought forward in their lawsuit at the end of last year: the Egyptian regime is guilty of violations of human rights and the laws of war on a large scale. Therefore, no weapons should be exported to that country.

The government did not go along with this and continues to maintain that the arms export licenses were carefully issued and that the weapons may therefore be exported. Last year in November, the Dutch government was proven right by the judge, but PAX, Stop Arms Trade and the NJCM lodged an appeal against this decision.

Thursday, 31 March at 1:30 p.m. is the hearing at the Court of Appeal in The Hague in the appeal case. Roll number: 200.304.795.

Read more about this case here.