Right across the world, our right to protest is under attack. To make matters worse, security forces are routinely misusing rubber and plastic bullets, and other law enforcement weapons to violently suppress peaceful protests.

Such weapons are promoted as safer alternatives to firearms. But all too often, we are seeing them used unlawfully to harass, intimidate, punish or drive away protesters - undermining our human rights, and in many cases causing horrific injuries and even deaths.

Leidy Cadena knows of this first hand. The 24 year old was blinded during a protest in Colombia by a Mobile Anti-riot Squads agent, who shot her directly - causing her to lose sight in her right eye. The same injury happened to Payu Boonsophon, a 28-year-old in Thailand. In France, 80-year-old Zineb Redouane was killed when a tear gas grenade struck her head. Zineb was killed inside her own home - the protest was taking place on the streets below her apartment building.

Without global action, the misuse of these lethal weapons will continue to cause devastating injuries worldwide. We need governments all over the world to vote yes on a Torture-Free Trade Treaty at the United Nations, so we can regulate the trade in policing equipment - and help protect our safety, and our right to protest.

Sign the petition now, demanding the Australian government supports a Torture-Free Trade Treaty.

Sign the Petition

  Our Petition

Senator the Hon Penny Wong
Minister for Foreign Affairs
PO Box 6100
Parliament House
Canberra, ACT - 2600

Dear Minister Wong,

As a member of the Alliance for Torture-Free Trade, Australia has a unique opportunity to step up its efforts and work towards a United Nations instrument to stop the trade in instruments for torture. 

Amnesty International believes that this process has reached a critical phase and urgently needs forthright engagement from states – especially those states which have expressed their support for this initiative in the past.

Amnesty International, working with a vibrant network of over 30 civil society organisations across the world, believe that the international trade of law enforcement equipment that is or can readily be used for torture or other ill-treatment can most effectively be addressed by an international legally binding instrument.

In January 2023, our organisations came together in support of The Shoreditch Declaration, pledging to support the creation of a  robust Torture-free Trade Treaty. Only this approach can build a common architecture for compliance at international and state levels, incorporating standardised national control regimes, information sharing and trade monitoring mechanisms. 

Clear international rules will not obstruct legitimate trade, but it will bring clarity on states’ human rights obligations related to the trade in law enforcement equipment, and aid wider efforts to prevent torture and other ill-treatment globally. 

Binding international law is the only means to ensure that companies – wherever they are based – trading in inherently abusive equipment will have no international market for such goods; and that companies manufacturing and trading in controlled goods are subject to a common regulatory “level playing field” globally.

We call on the Australian Government to vote yes on a Torture-Free Trade Treaty at the United Nations.

In particular, we are advocating for states to actively support the UN mandated Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) Report recommendations regarding the negotiation of a legally-binding instrument in intergovernmental interactions. This includes supporting the tabling and adoption of a resolution in the UN General Assembly mandating the creation of an Expert Group to begin negotiations for a Torture-Free Trade Treaty, as per one path recommended by the GGE. 

Where appropriate, we also urge you to raise this issue in relevant meetings of your sub-regional and regional organisations and encourage peer states to support this initiative.

We look forward to seeing Australia’s positive engagement at the UN General Assembly on this important matter.

Yours sincerely,

[Your name]