1 June 2017
Less-lethal weapons (LLW) and equipment have an important and increasing role in law enforcement. They may be used as a less dangerous alternative to firearms, in order to reduce the risk of serious harm to persons and to the suspect of crimes, or in situations where force is necessary but where the use of firearms would be disproportionate.
There is no agreed definition of LLW but law enforcement agents know what they speak about when LLW are invoked. There are also very few national and no international standards that regulate the use of LLW, their impact and long-term effects.
While there is some jurisprudence related to the use of Tasers and some guidance from the 1979 United Nations (UN) Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials and the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials, there is no comprehensive analysis of LLW use’s human rights impact and compliance with international human rights law (IHRL).
At the 2017 annual seminar on current human rights challenges related to the use of force, participants – experts, practitioners, academics and representatives from international and non-governmental organizations – explored the challenges and opportunities of new technologies, including LLW and unmanned systems, from the perspectives of both the right to life and the prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.
Given the lack of definition of LLW in IHRL, the absence of international standards regulating their use and the lack of clarity regarding their human rights impact and compliance with IHRL the seminar concluded with a call to further explore the use of LLW for law enforcement purposes.
US Mission Geneva
Our new paper ‘Diversity in Membership of the UN Human Rights Treaty Bodies’ examines the composition of UN human rights treaty bodies (TBs) notably in relation to gender balance, geographical representation, as well as TBs members’ subject-matter expertise and professional background.
Our Senior Researcher Alice Priddy led last week a series of workshops in Gaza and the occupied West Bank concerning the protection of persons with disabilities living in the occupied Palestinian territories.
This photo exhibition by Giles Duley tells the stories of persons with disabilities during and following armed conflict
UN Photo / Jean-Marc Ferré
This training course will explore the origin and evolution of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) and its functioning in Geneva and will focus on the nature of implementation of the UPR recommendations at the national level.
This training course provides participants with a deep understanding of the international legal framework for the protection of human rights and the environment as well as in-depth knowledge of how to promote environmental protection through existing human rights mechanisms. The 2019 edition will dedicate special attention to plastic pollution.
The Geneva Academy is coordinating the academic input to the 2020 review of UN treaty bodies by the UN General Assembly via the creation of an academic network of independent researchers, a call for papers, a series of regional consultations, annual conferences in Geneva, as well as ongoing interactions with key stakeholders.
© ILO/ Joydeep Mukherjee
This project aims to support the UN working group’s consultation process and thus contribute the promotion and protection of human rights and gender equality in relation to the business sector via research on international human rights law and policy related to gender equality guarantees and their application to business activities, and the organization of a global conference in Geneva.