It’s Time to Stop the Use of Tear Gas Against Civilians

International law has already established a framework around the use and misuse of tear gas. Tear gas is considered a chemical weapon according to the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), which outlawed its use in war. The CWC, which the United States signed and ratified, recognizes tear gas as a “riot control agent” which it broadly defines as “any chemical … which can produce rapidly in humans sensory irritation or disabling physical effects.” Article 1(5) of the CWC states “each State Party undertakes not to use riot control agents as a method of warfare.” While the convention leaves open the opportunity for states to use tear gas domestically, it establishes a clear norm: tear gas is a harmful chemical weapon that is not even condoned as a method of warfare. readmore

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