Sheffield Council bans mosquito devices
This afternoon (12 January) Sheffield City Council voted unanimously to ban the use of mosquito devices on all council buildings. It also recommended that the device be banned from "partnership" buildings, such as those used by the police. Harry Carter, Member of the UK Youth Parliament for Sheffield, has been leading the local campaign. He described the ban as "a great success for young people".
The mosquito device emits a high-pitched noise only heard by under 25 year-olds. It is used to deliberately cause pain in young people's ears to stop them lawfully gathering in public places. CRAE's national co-ordinator, Carolyne Willow, says:
"It's fantastic to see local councillors defending young people's rights like this. But what's stopping Ministers introducing an outright ban that protects all young people? This invention relies on absolute prejudice against the young - a similar device would not be targeted at any other group in society. It's sickening to think that some people - babies and young disabled people for example - will suffer piercing noises in their ears yet won't be able to move to a different location if the people they're with are over 25 and can't also hear the noise".
Sheffield's ban follows a similar ban by Kirklees Council (September 2010), Kent County Council (June 2008) and Lancashire County Council (May 2007) - all achieved following powerful campaigns by young people.
In June last year, the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly unanimously agreed that Governments and local authorities in member states should ban the mosquito device. This followed a recommendation from the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child to UK Ministers in October 2008 that they 'reconsider ... the mosquito devices insofar as they may violate the rights of children to freedom of movement and peaceful assembly, the enjoyment of which is essential for the children’s development...'.