PACE committee calls for a ban on 'Mosquito' youth dispersal devices in all public places

Strasbourg, 10.03.2010 - The Committee on Culture, Science and Education of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) voted unanimously this morning in favour of a Europe-wide ban on the marketing, sale and use of "Mosquito" acoustic youth dispersal devices in all public places. The parliamentarians believe that these devices treat young people "as if they were unwanted birds or pests" and that their use is tantamount to degrading treatment prohibited by the European Convention on Human Rights.

The text adopted, drafted by Piotr Wach (Poland, EPP/CD), states that the use of these devices constitutes a "disproportionate interference with the right to respect for one’s private life, including the right to respect for one’s physical integrity" and contravenes the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, in particular regarding health and safety.

While there is no evidence of health risks associated with this device, the text states that further medical tests are required: "It is not known, for instance, what impact high-frequency noise has on unborn children.  The ‘precautionary principle’ must therefore apply."

The "Mosquito" device is currently marketed and used in the United Kingdom, where 3 500 devices are deployed, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands and Switzerland. It emits a powerful acoustic signal audible to almost all young people under the age of 20 years but barely noticeable to anyone over the age of 25. Teenagers exposed to this type of noise are forced to leave the immediate area.