Recent news and events

Handbook on handcuffs and other instruments of restraint in court hearings: international edition

The international edition of the Handbook on handcuffs and other instruments of restraint in court hearings was launched on 18 April. The Handbook lays out issues surrounding the use of handcuffs and other restraints in the courtroom. It explores how the wearing of handcuffs and other instruments of restraint in the courtroom can impact on rights including the right to be free from torture and other ill-treatment and due process rights including the rights to defend oneself with equality of arms, the right to take a full part in proceedings and the right to be presumed innocent until proved otherwise.

The first edition of the Handbook, published in 2020, was developed specifically for the Brazilian judiciary to tackle the issue of the routine use of handcuffs and other restraints in courtrooms in Brazil. The new edition expands on the 2020 publication, including not only relevant legislation, case-law and good practice from Brazil but from several other countries as well. It also sets out guidelines and recommendations applicable to judicial hearings in general. [more...]


New resource: Visual guide to law enforcement and security equipment - 15 September

Omega are global experts on law enforcement and security weapons and equipment, and today we have published our new Guide to this equipment. The Guide to law enforcement and security equipment pulls together images, key concerns, policies and recommendations on nearly 60 types of equipment from handcuffs to tear gas to electric shock batons. It covers specialist equipment, including technologies that are specifically designed to inflict torture and other ill-treatment. In addition, this Guide also covers equipment that can have a legitimate use when used appropriately and in a human rights-compliant manner, but is often misused to commit acts of torture and other ill-treatment by prison, police, and other agencies. [more...]


Blunt Force: Investigating the misuse of police batons and related weapons - 9 September

Amnesty International and the Omega Research Foundation today called on governments to support a UN-led process to regulate the trade in law enforcement equipment, highlighting how ubiquitous weapons like police batons are routinely misused in ways which can constitute torture and other ill-treatment. 

In a new investigation, Blunt Force, the organizations catalogued 188 incidents where law enforcement officials have misused striking weapons such as batons, which are currently traded with little to no regulation. The investigation draws on open-source photo and video evidence from 35 countries, and includes examples from violent crackdowns on protests in Belarus, Colombia, France, India and Myanmar. Videos show law enforcement officials using batons and similar weapons like lathis and sjamboks to inflict punishment, beat people who are already restrained, deliver unjustified dangerous blows to the head, or choke people in neck holds.  [more...]

México: Carta abierta sobre el Acuerdo de fecha 25/08/2021 - 9 de septiembre de 2021

Omega Research Foundation y la Anti-Torture Initiative escribieron una carta abierta al Presidente de México, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, para compartir nuestras preocupaciones con relación al Acuerdo de fecha 25 de agosto de 2021, que denota una comprensión equivocada del objetivo y alcance del Protocolo de Estambul: Manual de las Naciones Unidas para la investigación y documentación eficaces de la tortura y otros tratos o penas crueles, inhumanos o degradantes.

A continuación, el texto completo de la carta: [more...]