Restriction of Tear Gas Sales to Middle East and North Africa Countries is Positive Step

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) applauds Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN) for introducing an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that restricts the sale of tear gas and riot control items to Middle East and North Africa countries undergoing a transition to democracy. The amendment, which successfully passed the US House of Representatives, requires the Secretary of Defense to certify to the House and Senate Armed Services Committees that the security forces of such governments are not using excessive force to repress peaceful protesters before such items would be provided.

PHR has condemned the rampant and improper use of tear gas in Bahrain, where security forces have targeted civilians at protests and in their homes. PHR researchers documented health complications and deaths of those attacked, including men, women, children, and the elderly. Rep. Ellison’s amendment would require greater scrutiny of the treatment of peaceful protestors worldwide, and would ensure that funds authorized by the NDAA are not used to support human rights abuses committed against civilians by their own governments.

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