Olivier Chamard / Geneva Academy
19 June 2018
Our annual seminar, held in the context of the Geneva Human Rights Platform and its focus on current human rights challenges related to the use of force, will discuss the use of less-lethal weapons (LLW) in the context of law enforcement, management of assemblies and crowd control.
During two days, around 40 participants – academics, law enforcement experts from different regional and legal backgrounds, medical experts dealing with the negative effects of LLW, representatives from international organizations and civil society – will discuss a draft document to guide practice concerning the use of LLW and other equipment in law enforcement.
This document has been drafted by a working group of academics made of leading academics, law enforcement experts and practitioners and representatives from international organizations and civil society.
‘Our hope is that this document, once finalized, will build on, and in no way challenge or update, the UN Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials and the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials’ underlines Kamelia Kemileva, Executive Manager at the Geneva Academy.
‘This annual seminar allows us to identify and discuss topical issues and challenges related to the use of force and how these are addressed by the UN Human Rights Council or the UN Human Rights Committee’ stresses Kamelia Kemileva.
Next steps will include a revised draft after the meeting that will integrate comments from participants and a follow-up meeting before the end of 2018.
The Geneva Human Rights Platform (HRP) provides a dynamic forum in Geneva for all stakeholders in the field of human rights – experts, practitioners, diplomats and civil society – to discuss and debate topical issues and challenges. Relying on academic research and findings, it enables various actors to become better connected, break down silos and, hence, advance human rights.
The HRP fosters interactions and discussions on topical issues and challenges through regular events, conferences, expert roundtables and private meetings. It informs ongoing processes via solid academic research and publications.
The HRP notably focuses on the use of force in relation to law enforcement, management of assemblies, crowd control, the right to life or the use of specific security devices and how these issues are addressed at the UN Human Rights Council, the UN Human Rights Committee or at the Conference on Disarmament.
On 8 and 9 October, academic experts, members of United Nations (UN) specialized bodies, UN Special Rapporteurs, members of UN treaty bodies, representatives of other international organizations, law enforcement officials, experts in police oversight, non-governmental organizations and civil society met to consult states and to discuss revisions made to a proposed text of guidance on less-lethal weapons and related equipment in law enforcement.
Given the lack of definition of less-lethal weapons in international human rights (IHRL), law, the absence of international standards regulating their use and the lack of clarity regarding their human rights impact and compliance with IHRL, the annual seminar on current human rights challenges related to the use of force concluded with a call to further explore the use of LLW for law enforcement purposes.
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