Activists, human rights monitors, journalists, legal professionals, and others need to be able identify equipment used to commit torture and other ill-treatment in order to advocate for stricter regulation of its trade and use and provide accountability when abuses occur. Omega will build an online platform to share information about the trade and use of weapons and equipment used to commit acts of violence, including rubber bullets, restraints, electric shock weapons, and tear gas.
Law enforcement equipment is used worldwide to commit torture in public and in places of detention. Recent high-profile cases of police violence, brutal enforcement of Covid-19 restrictions, and violent suppression of protests have highlighted a lack of reliable, publicly-available data on the trade and use of this equipment. Without this journalists, activists, legal professionals, human rights monitors and NGOs are ill-equipped to provide the oversight needed to prevent these abuses.
This project will provide unprecedented access to Omega's vast and growing archive on the trade and use of law enforcement equipment collected over 30 years. The archive, which includes information on thousands of manufacturers and products, 10,000s of images, arms fair information from the 1980s to date, and hundreds of case studies of the mis-use of equipment, will have enormous value for journalists, activists, human rights defenders and others working to prevent human rights violations.
Human rights monitors will more accurately identify equipment encountered at places of detention and protests. Activists will more effectively lobby to control the trade and use of tools of torture. Legal professionals will better evaluate the legality of use of force incidents. Journalists and human rights defenders will more easily identify equipment used, where it came from, and risks associated. Omega's research will ensure that the platform will be maintained beyond the life of the project.