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Following an initiative by the European Youth Forum, the Assembly decided to examine thoroughly the use in some European countries of technical devices emitting high-frequency sounds to disperse young people or keep them away from certain spaces. The physical impact of high-frequency sounds on children and young people still lacks adequate medical research: this is of concern and the precautionary principle should therefore apply. For these reasons, legislative measures should be taken throughout Europe against the marketing of such devices and their use in public places should be banned.

Reference to committee : Doc. See related documents Report Doc. Draft recommendation open 1. Its impact on the health of children and young people and discrimination against them were mentioned as problems. This kind of noise is audible to almost all young people under the age of 20 years, but to hardly anyone over the age of The device is used to deter undesirable adolescents from hanging around and loitering in places where they are not welcome, and where it is considered that they harm the image or the ambience of the place: outside shopping centres or in passageways and on corners where young people like to gather and spend time.

It is installed and used by public administrations, shopkeepers and sometimes even by schools or individual residents. In the majority of cases, no prior warnings or information concerning the installation of these acoustic devices in a specific place are given. Older people are not aware that they are being exposed to this kind of strong acoustic emission because it is outside their hearing range. Many children, in particular babies, have dramatic reactions to the sound. They often cry or shout out and cover their ears, to the surprise of their parents, who, unaware of the noise, do not know why.

Teenagers exposed to this kind of 12186 over 40 adult chatroom are forced to leave the zone. They feel victimised and offended and regard this treatment as clear discrimination against youngsters. They feel that they are being treated as potential troublemakers and trespassers and, consequently, their feeling of alienation deepens. While the sound level produced by the device does not exceed the sound level permitted by labour law regulations for short-term exposure, these regulations are not applicable to children, minors or pregnant women, who clearly should be much better protected than adult workers.

However, although there is no indication that other health effects might be associated with this device, further medical tests are required. It is for instance not known what impact high-frequency noise has on unborn children. The use of these devices may, depending on circumstances, interfere as well with Article 11 of the ECHR which guarantees the right to freedom of peaceful assembly.

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However, as long as the possibility exists to set the frequency at a higher level, and given the scope the device is intended for, it will remain potentially discriminatory. The Assembly emphasises, in addition, that these devices, while inflicting acoustic pain on young people and treating them as if they were unwanted birds or pests, are harmful, highly offensive and may thus result in a degrading treatment prohibited by article 3 of the Convention. Under this provision, children and other vulnerable persons have the right to be protected from serious attacks against their physical and psychical integrity.

It is not tackling the root cause of the problem and certainly does not encourage youngsters to act responsibly but has rather the opposite effect. However, the Assembly regrets that no member 12186 over 40 adult chatroom of the Council of Europe has so far banned them. Furthermore, in Aprilthe European Commission also decided not to ban them.

Therefore, the Assembly recommends national parliaments, national governments and local authorities of the Council of Europe member states, each of them in the exercise of their roles and competencies, to 12186 over 40 adult chatroom appropriate measures to: The Assembly recommends that the Committee of Ministers: Explanatory memorandum by Mr Wach, rapporteur open 1.

Introduction 1. Young people tend to gather well away from adult supervision in popular public places, such as squares, shopping centres, passageways, etc. They consider it to be a particular way of meeting with peers and spending free time, a way to show they are different from adults. This phenomenon of young people socialising in groups is essential for learning social skills and appropriate behaviour as members of groups. Quite often, this type of behaviour generates a negative reaction among older people, and in particular administrators of the places where young people meet.

People see it as a kind of hostile demonstration, an obstacle to them using these places in the normal way, as well as having a negative impact on businesses. Sometimes they even consider such gatherings to be a safety hazard for regular customers or passers-by. In specific situations, when these kinds of gatherings infringe normal public order or constitute a danger, police or security organisations react and the minors are asked to leave and disperse, or are forced to do so.

However, more often than not, the behaviour of these youngsters is within legal norms or local regulations, and no action is taken by official law enforcement or security forces. But still many older people complain because they feel uncomfortable or even at risk.

The Parliamentary Assembly was alerted about, and seriously concerned by, these developments, and this is why its Committee on Culture, Science and Education was entrusted to prepare a report on this issue. The questions were about legal regulations and use of the devices by police, municipalities, organisations and private individuals. The committee received 17 answers to this questionnaire. The committee had an opportunity to confront with public opinion in Mollina, Spain, in Marchon the occasion of the 42nd meeting of the European Steering Committee for Youth and the t Council on Youth.

The outcome of the discussion and the ensuing responses to the written questions were unequivocal. The outline report was finally presented during the consecutive meeting of the above-mentioned bodies, in Budapest, in September and was strongly supported. It resembles a small loudspeaker and can be installed easily anywhere.

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The noise is audible only to nearly all young people under Perception of the noise by people over 25 is extremely rare and it is practically inaudible to older people. This is the effect relied on by the kind of devices in question here.

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This applies to the majority of European countries, where these devices comply with legal requirements. But their effect on infants and children and on pregnant women has not been tested and labour law norms have not been set for them. In particular its effect — physical and psychological — on children, youngsters and pregnant women is not known.

Small children, who are unable to recognise the cause of their pain, are very vulnerable and may become disoriented. Often their parents are not aware of the cause of the problem and they do not leave the affected area. Concerning pregnant women, specialists believe that the high-frequency sound does not penetrate the fluids of the womb and reach the unborn child, which is therefore probably safe. However, to date there are no certainties. It is also useful to bear in mind the decibel dB scale of sound pressure that is used to compare the loudness of audible sounds.

It is a logarithmic scale, with the reference level set at 20 dB, corresponding to the human threshold of hearing. Each additional 20 dB means the sound is 10 times louder. The following basic simplified table can be used to illustrate average human reception of sound levels psychological acoustics : 20 dB — the threshold of human hearing; 40 dB — quiet, soft sound: raindrops; 60 dB — normal level of sound that people are used to: radio, TV, conversation, etc.

It is perhaps worth noting here that other more 12186 over 40 adult chatroom and dangerous acoustic dispersal devices are available on the market. Their maximum acoustic sound-pressure emission is over dB, a lethal noise level, and at a distance of m their noise levels are 95 dB and dB respectively. But they are not discriminatory devices, as they work in a range of Hz to 6.

They should be used according to the law and specific regulations, but it should be noted that they can be purchased in many countries without any conditions or control. The majority of them, probably more than 5have been installed in the United Kingdom. There are no formal regulations concerning the use of these devices, except in Belgium, and many of the governmental answers say that they fall under general rules and restrictions concerning exposure to noise and environmental protection.

In reply, the council decided not to introduce any federal regulations and to leave the problem to the cantons, and said that the issue at stake was the balance between freedom of assembly and freedom of trade.

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In Aprilin response to this request, the Commission decided not to introduce any general regulations on the subject and to leave the problem to be decided by the member states individually. This argument fails to take of the fact that this position is a discouraging one and goes against the idea of bringing up youngsters in a positive manner, shows contempt for their basic rights and treats them instrumentally. It should be borne in mind that potential offenders take advantage of the fact that it is very difficult for an individual to find and describe the circumstances constituting a violation of their rights and to sue the owner of the device in court.

The acoustic dispersal treats the youngsters as the cause for anti-social behaviour but loitering and causing criminal damage may also be provoked by adults. Council of Europe. National parliaments. International partners. Assembly's logo.

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