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Manufacturing torture? South Africa's trade in electric shock equipment
24 June 2016

This policy brief is part of the ‘tools of torture' series. Other policy briefs in this series:

In South Africa, the trade in certain kinds of firearms and military equipment is controlled for reasons of safety and security. However, there is a gap in legislation when it comes to the control of law enforcement equipment that can facilitate torture and ill treatment. This brief examines electric shock devices as an example of security equipment that needs stronger trade-control measures. The brief outlines concerns over the use of electric shock equipment, and discusses the manufacture of these items in South Africa and their trade with other countries. It also looks at trade controls currently used elsewhere, and provides recommendations for changes in the control measures surrounding these products in South Africa.

About the Omega Research Foundation:

The Omega Research Foundation conducts research on the development, manufacture, trade and use of military, security and police equipment. Such equipment ranges from small arms and light weapons to less lethal and restraint equipment, surveillance systems and large-weapon systems. Omega promotes effective mechanisms to prevent the proliferation and misuse of such weapons through information sharing, awareness-raising workshops and training, and advocacy activities, targeting, among others, the strengthening of export-control regimes and use-of-force policies. For more, visit

The Omega Research Foundation is funded to do this research by the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights, the Sigrid Rausing Trust, the Oak Foundation and the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust. The ISS is also grateful for support from the members of the ISS Partnership Forum: the governments of Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the USA.