The United Nations in Malaysia would like to refer to the article published in The Star newspaper on May 7, 2012 titled “Police: Tear gas used at rally safe, UN-approved’.
We very much regret that the UN in Malaysia was not consulted before the publication of this article as it contains serious inaccuracies. The UN has consistently condemned the excessive use of force, including through the use of tear gas.
Please also note that the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council have on various occasions publicly expressed concerns about reliable reports indicating that civilians who died from tear gas suffered complications from gas inhalation, and that security forces have been firing metal tear gas canisters from grenade launchers into crowds.
The UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression after his mission to the Israel and Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) in December 2011 noted that “while the use of tear gas to disperse a crowd may be legitimate under certain circumstances, tear gas canisters should never be fired directly at demonstrators.”
Moreover, unlike what is alleged in the article, the UN does not set international standards on different kinds of irritants, nor has the UN approved ‘CS Gas’ as a ‘riot control’ agent.