Use of Tear Gas on Peaceful Protesters. February 2016.
Responding to a request for more data on tear gas misuse in Council of Europe member states, Omega worked with the Bournemouth University Civic Media Hub to aggregate information and produce a report for the Council of Europe. The report offers a brief summary analysis of Human Rights investigations into the misuse of tear gas on peaceful and civilian protesters. It covers member states of the Council of Europe that came under investigation in a sample of publicly available reports published between 2006 and 2016.
The report shares a number of key findings regarding human rights concerns. These findings include data indicating that tear gas is frequently being used in confined and enclosed spaces, which can increase the likelihood of suffocation, stampeding and related injuries and deaths. Tear gas is also being used in places with uninvolved bystanders, and in places where there are vulnerable populations, such as near, or even inside, hospitals and schools.
The number of incidents that took place in contained areas compared to streets
Another major finding of the report reveals the lack of adequate and transparent record keeping on police use of force. No Council of Europe member state currently keeps publicly available statistics on police use of force with tear gas or other less lethal weapons. This means that there is no access to information on the amount of tear gas that is used, where it is used, or what injuries and deaths it causes.
We conclude our report with a list of 9 recommendations for change. Primary among these is a call for member states to comply with the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials.