March 30, 2016

Crowd-Control Weapons

Lethal in Disguise: The Health Consequences of Crowd-Control Weapons (2016)

lethal in disguise

Even in the context of protests where there are people who either engage in or incite others to engage in acts of violence and which require police intervention, the explicit goal of intervention should be to de-escalate the situation.”

In recent years, there has been a rise in the number of popular protests in which people have taken to the streets to express grievances and claim their rights. In many cases, police and security forces have responded in ways that profoundly undermine the fundamental rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression, often leading to escalations in violence through unwarranted, inappropriate, or disproportionate uses of force. Law enforcement throughout the world is increasingly responding to popular protests with crowd-control weapons (CCWs). The proliferation of CCWs without adequate regulation, training, monitoring, and/or accountability, has led to the widespread and routine use or misuse of these weapons, resulting in injury, disability, and death.

There is a significant gap in knowledge about the health effects of CCWs and an absence of meaningful international standards or guidelines around their use. As a result, the International Network of Civil Liberties Organizations (INCLO) and Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) partnered to document the health consequences of CCWs and examine their roles and limitations in protest contexts and make recommendations about their safe use.

This report has shown that these weapons can often result in significant injuries, disability, and even death. As a result, there is a pressing need to engage in further ethical research and empirical studies to develop clear scientific standards and parameters for the use of CCWs.”

Overview of the Report

» About PHR | » About INCLO | » Executive Summary | » Acknowledgements | » Download the Report (4MB)

» 1.0. Introduction

» 2.0. Background

» 3.0. Crowd-Control Weapons and their Impact on Health (use the below content slider)


» 4.0. Conclusion and Recommendations (use the below content slider)


For further information on specific crowd-control weapons you can view the Omega Research Foundation’s Visual Glossary here.






INCLO’s Andrew Songa (left, KHRC) and Karim Ennarah (right, EIPR), with Commissioner Med S. Kaggwa at ACHPR58, Banjul.