Reports that the PSNI will lend An Garda Síochána “equipment” for the upcoming visit by Elizabeth Windsor to the South of Ireland will raise concerns for human rights during that period.
PSNI equipment currently includes plastic bullets which are used by the PSNI in crowd control situations. This is of course against the rules dictating their use and leaves the most vulnerable open to serious injury or worse.
Last summer in Belfast young people were hit with plastic bullets in separate incidents. There is a real danger that the human rights gains made on this issue will be reversed and that their use will once again become normalised. The last thing people in the South need or should be party to is the introduction of these lethal weapons and the subsequent lowering of human rights standards.
“Those charged with the upholding of human rights standards – primarily those in government – but also those in civil society – should ask for specific and clear information about the type of equipment currently being negotiated and should be wary of any insistence that these forms of technology enhance public safety. Quite to the contrary they threaten it.