A prominent international rights organization on Tuesday called for strict regulation of manufacture and trade in policing equipment amid increasing misuse of rubber bullets and other weapons against protesters across the world.
Amnesty International conducted a global survey on police misuse of rubber bullets and other less lethal weapons against peaceful protesters. The research was carried out in 30 countries over the last five years.
“Security forces across the world are routinely misusing rubber and plastic bullets and other law enforcement weapons to violently suppress peaceful protests and cause horrific injuries and deaths,” the watchdog said in its new report on trade and use of policing equipment.
The document dubbed “My Eye Exploded” revealed cases of “reckless and disproportionate” use of less lethal police weaponry against demonstrators.
“We believe that legally-binding global controls on the manufacture and trade in less lethal weapons, including KIPs [kinetic impact projectiles], along with effective guidelines on the use of force are urgently needed to combat an escalating cycle of abuses,” Patrick Wilcken, a researcher on military, security and policing issues at the watchdog, said.
The report was published jointly with the Omega Research Foundation, which is part of other organizations calling for a Torture-Free Trade Treaty backed by the United Nations that will prohibit manufacture and trade of inherently abusive KIPs and other police weapons. The treaty will also introduce trade controls on the supply of law enforcement equipment, such as rubber and plastic bullets, in line with human rights requirements.