A big group of non-governmental human rights organizations, from around Latin America, has a hearing on Thursday at the OAS Inter-American Human Rights Commission to discuss how security forces are misusing supposedly “non-lethal” crowd-control weapons to maim or kill participants in political protests. The United States, through arms sales, is a top source of those weapons.

Join me later on Thursday, at 5:00—at WOLA or online—when I have the honor of moderating a discussion with some of them.

Here’s the explanatory text from WOLA’s website:

The Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), the Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales (CELS), the International Network of Civil Liberties Organizations (INCLO) and Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) warmly invite you to the hybrid event “Crowd-control weapons in the Americas: Evidence from the ground and how to stop their harm”. The event will be held in-person and on Zoom on Thursday 9 November from 5:00-6:30 PM EST.

The right to protest in the Americas is regularly undermined when crowd-control weapons (misleadingly called non-lethal or less-lethal) are used and misused in ways that are disproportionate, indiscriminate and illegal. They inflict life-changing injuries, long-term psychological harm and even death. Despite growing recognition of their dangers, the manufacture, marketing, trade and use of law enforcement equipment including less lethal weapons continues to rise.

Join us for a civil society discussion on how to tackle the negative impacts of crowd-control weapons used by law enforcement in protests across the Americas with experts from the US, Argentina, Colombia and Ecuador. 

The discussion will include a presentation of Lethal in Disguise 2: How Crowd-Control Weapons Impact Health and Human Rights, reflections on an IACHR hearing on the subject to be held earlier that day and growing call at the UN for a binding global Torture-Free Trade Treaty.


  • Adam Isaacson, Director for Defense Oversight at WOLA (moderator)
  • Erika Dailey, Director of Advocacy and Policy of PHR
  • Alicia Ruth Tapuy Santi, INREDH / Widow of Byron Guatatuca
  • Camilo Mendoza Zamudio, Researcher for the police violence observatory and platform GRITA of Temblores NGO
  • Juliana Miranda, Researcher for Citizen Security and Police Violence teams of CELS
  • Michael Perloff, staff attorney at ACLU

The event will be in Spanish and English with simultaneous interpretation available virtually. For those joining us in person and need interpretation, we ask that you bring a device and headphones to connect to the virtual meeting and access the simultaneous interpretation. Wifi will be available.

There will be ample time for Q&A, as well as a short reception following the discussion with beverages and snacks.

** Registration is required both for in person and virtual participation. Please RSVP through this link. 

The event will be livestreamed and accessible afterwards on WOLA’s Youtube Channel.