6 July 2018
Last week, at our annual seminar held in the context of the Geneva Human Rights Platform and its focus on the use of force, around 40 police officers, experts on the design, testing and use of weapons, representatives of national police oversight mechanisms, human rights experts, representatives of UN specialized agencies, academics, representative of governments and of national civil society organizations discussed human rights challenges related to the use of less-lethal weapons (LLWs).
Participants notably reviewed a first draft document to guide the use of LLWs and other equipment in law enforcement. This first draft was designed early this year by an academic working group made of leading academics, law enforcement experts and practitioners and representatives from international organizations and civil society.
This draft document aims to build upon, and in no way to challenge or to update, the 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.
It is intended to assist relevant stakeholders in meeting the requirement of these existing standards to develop ‘non-lethal incapacitating weapons for use in appropriate situations ’ and that such development and/or deployment of such weapons be ‘carefully evaluated in order to minimize the risk of endangering uninvolved persons ’
‘It is vital, when conceiving standards in this sometimes highly contested space, that there are opportunities to consult all the stakeholders. Only on the basis of frank exchanges can standards speak properly to the challenges faced on the ground’ says Professor Christof Heyns.
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.
This annual seminar took place in parallel of a UN Human Rights Council (HRC) negotiation on a resolution dealing with the use of LLWs in peaceful protests. The Omega Research Foundation, which participated in the seminar and specializes in research of LLWs, gave a technical seminar for diplomats and civil society representatives at the Palais des Nations on the particularities of the use of LLWs around protests.
The Geneva Human Rights Platform (HRP) provides a dynamic forum in Geneva for all stakeholders in the field of human rights 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 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.
The Geneva Human Rights Platform has been contributing to this review by providing expert input, by facilitating dialogue on the review among various stakeholders, as well as by accompanying the discussions towards the follow-up resolution to 68/268 in New York and in Geneva.
UN Photo / Jean-Marc Ferré
Our new Practical Manual precisely outlines the role of UN human rights mechanisms – UN treaty bodies, the UN Human Rights Council and its Special Procedures – in monitoring the SDGs that seek to realize ESCR.
Olivier Chamard/Geneva Academy
The 2020 Annual Conference will focus on the connectivity between regional and global human rights mechanisms and relevant links with national systems, as well as on the effectiveness of these interactions in a number of policy areas.
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 2020 edition will have a specific focus on water pollution and scarcity.
This short course, which can be followed in Geneva or online, discusses the extent to which states may limit and/or derogate from their international human rights obligations in order to prevent and counter-terrorism and thus protect persons under their jurisdiction.
We are a partner of the Human Rights, Big Data and Technology Project, housed at the University of Essex’s Human Rights Centre, which aims to map and analyse the human rights challenges and opportunities presented by the use of big data and associated technologies. It notably examines whether fundamental human rights concepts and approaches need to be updated and adapted to meet the new realities of the digital age.
Olivier Chamard/Geneva Academy