Police use of rubber bullets maiming thousands worldwide: Amnesty | Police News

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Police misuse of rubber bullets and other less lethal weapons against peaceful protesters has killed dozens of people and maimed thousands in more than 30 countries over the past five years. ‘ gone, said Amnesty International.

The human rights group, in a new report released on Tuesday, said a global torture-free trade agreement was needed to regulate trade in police equipment, including kinetic impact projectiles (KIPs) such as coated metal bullets. with rubber, and to help protect. right to complain.

“We believe that globally legally binding controls on the manufacture and trade in less lethal weapons, including KIPs, together with effective guidance on the use of force are urgently needed to combat the cycle of abuse,” said Pádraig Wilcken, Amnesty International’s researcher on military, security and police issues.

Police misuse of such weapons, as well as causing deaths, has led to an “alarming increase in eye injuries”, said the report, published in conjunction with Omega Research Foundation titled “My Eye Exploded”.

These injuries include eyeball fractures, retinal detachments and total vision loss, as well as bone and skull fractures, brain injuries, internal organ fractures and blood, hearts and lungs punctured from broken ribs, damage to genitalia and psychological trauma.

For example, in Chile, an assessment by the country’s National Human Rights Institute found that police actions during anti-government protests in 2019 had resulted in more than 440 eye injuries, with more than 30 cases of eye loss.

Among them was Gustavo Gatica, a 22-year-old psychology student, who was blinded in both eyes after being hit in the face by rubber-coated metal bullets fired by police during a protest on November 8, 2019.

“I felt the water running from my eyes… but it was blood,” Gatica told Amnesty. He said he hoped his injuries would inspire change and prevent the same thing from happening to others.

“I raised my eyes so that people would wake up,” he said.

Amnesty said the use of rubber bullets to suppress peaceful protest has become common in the United States.

A protester who was hit in the face in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on May 31, 2020, said his eye “exploded” from the impact of the rubber bullet, and his nose moved from where it should have been under the other eye.

The showrunner, who underwent reconstructive surgery, said: “They put in a prosthetic eye – so I can only see out of my right eye now.”

In Palestine, Amnesty said Israeli forces have continued to use rubber-coated metal bullets against Palestinians despite the country’s Supreme Court ruling in 2000 that such weapons were lethal and not they should be used for police demonstrations.

A recent report by the United Nations Human Rights Council recorded 438 injuries among Palestinians as a result of Israel’s use of rubber-coated metal bullets during the Great March of Return protests in 2018.

Amnesty said it has also documented “widespread illegal use of metal bullets” by Iranian security forces against protesters across the country, resulting in several deaths and thousands of injuries.

The deaths included 19 people killed by security forces firing metal bullets during the protests that swept the country after the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini last year.

Amnesty said it has also documented the use of tear gas grenades to target and shoot directly at individuals or large crowds in Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, France, Gaza, Guinea, Hong Kong , Iran, Iraq, Peru, Sudan, Tunisia and Venezuela.

In Iraq, security forces in 2019 deliberately targeted protesters with grenades that are 10 times heavier than conventional tear gas weapons, causing “terrible injuries and at least two dozen deaths”, he said.

But despite the great dangers of using rubber bullets and other less lethal weapons, there are currently no international regulations regarding the manufacture and trade of this equipment.

Amnesty and the Omega Research Foundation said human rights-based trade controls must be introduced on such arms supplies as part of a UN-backed deal.

“A Torture Free Trade Agreement would ban the production and trade of existing law enforcement weapons and equipment, including dangerous or inaccurate single KIPs, rubber-coated metal bullets, rubberized buckshot and ammunition with multiple projectiles that have resulted in bleeding, other serious injuries and deaths around the world,” said Michael Crowley, a researcher at the Omega Research Foundation.

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