INCLO condemns abuses against protesters in Chile and calls on governments around the world to regulate the use of Less-Lethal Weapons in line with UN guidelines
18 November 2019
Nine members of the International Network of Civil Liberties Organizations (INCLO) and Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) condemn the wrongful use of less-lethal weapons (LLWs) employed by the military and police forces in Chile in response to the protests taking place throughout the country in recent weeks.
A preliminary report issued by an international mission of observers indicates that tear gas, water cannons, rubber bullets and pellets were indiscriminately used, in gross violation of the basic human rights of expression and assembly.
Media reports several deaths and hundreds being wounded, with more than 200 people reported to have suffered serious injuries to the head and eyes. This dramatic number of injuries warrants deep concern for the wrongful use of these weapons and ammunition, such as rubber bullets and pellets, which were fired into the crowd targeting the heads and faces of the protestors.
Joint research conducted by our member organizations and PHR indicate that more than 70% of the 1 1,925 documented cases of injuries caused by kinetic impact projectiles (like rubber bullets and pellet rounds) over a period of 25 years resulted in permanent vision loss, blunt injuries to the brain, sprain, bruises and fractures.
The research highlights that the injuries and deaths amongst civilians are more common when these weapons are fired at close range, targeting the head and face. To protect the health and life of the protesters and passersby, INCLO and PHR call on governments around the world, including the government of Chile, to stop the excessive and indiscriminate use of kinetic impact projectiles against protestors, and adopt clear regulations on their use according to the recently launched United Nations Human Rights Guidance on Less-Lethal Weapons in Law Enforcement.
Signed by the Physicians for Human Rights (USA) and the following INCLO members:
Canadian Civil Liberties Association (Canada)
Centro de Estudios Legales Y Sociales (Argentina)
Kenya Human Rights Commission (Kenya)
Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (Egypt)
Human Rights Law Network (India) Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (Hungary)
Irish Council for Civil Liberties (Ireland)
Legal Resources Centre (South Africa)
INCLO advocates for the promotion and protection of the rights to protest and calls for stricter regulations on the use of less lethal weapons at the national and international level. 2 PHR is a New York-based advocacy organization that uses science and medicine to prevent mass atrocities and severe human rights violations.