The National Council of Women of Canada
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE…
For Immediate Release Ottawa , 2009-01-19
The National Council of Women of Canada is calling on all provinces and territories to ban the use of stun weapons, except in the case of immediate threat of death or serious injury which could not be contained by lesser means and where a police officer would otherwise resort to firearms to protect life.
We also strongly urge that the following practices be implemented: a) a complete and independent review, investigating the short-term and long-term effects of stun weapons employed in a wide variety of circumstances, physical conditions and combinations thereof; b) that every instance of death or serious injury occurring within 72 hours of being stunned be treated and investigated in the same way as death or serious injury by firearm; and c) that any police officer who uses a stun weapon in a situation contrary to this policy be subject to a disciplinary process.
The International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, which was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 16, 1966, states (Part III, Art.12) “…No one shall be subjected to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment…”, and stun weapons, also known as stun guns or tasers™ or conductive energy weapons, inflict severe distress ranging from severe pain to complete incapacitation of the person stunned.
The presence of factors such as (but not limited to) age, gender, heart condition, drug exposure or deprivation, fear, exhaustion and pregnancy are known to exacerbate the effects of an electrical discharge, and exposure to even small amounts of electrical charge can interrupt the rhythm of the heart and cause ventricular fibrillation and death.
Over 260 people in North America have died within a few minutes of having been stunned with stun weapons, and a number of these fatalities have occurred in situations where no one had been in serious danger from the person who was stunned.
Karen Dempsey, President
National Council of Women of Canada (Since 1893)
Head Office: #506, 251 Bank Street, Ottawa, Ontario K2P 0L4