The day is coming when drones strikes will no doubt impact more Americans than today. In the spirit of keeping current and really knowing what’s happening beyond what flies across the news desk between episodes of The Family Guy and American Idol– luvatfirstbyte carefully tracks these matters. I’ll admit, the report is a dry, yet sobering read. However, is it not about time to start keeping stock of what’s real in the world? If not, when?
This advanced unedited copy is a follow-up to those reports released last year by UN Special Rapporteurs on major drone activity – a report by Christof Heyns (UN Special Rapporteur) and a report by Ben Emmerson (UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and countering terrorism). These reports were then discussed by states at an important meeting (video) of the United Nations.
This third report was submitted to the Human Rights Council by the Special Rapporteur (on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism) & specifically examines the use of remotely piloted aircraft, or drones, in extraterritorial lethal counter-terrorism operations, including in the context of asymmetrical armed conflict, and allegations that the increasing use of remotely piloted aircraft, or drones, has caused disproportionate civilian casualties, and makes recommendations to nation states. General Assembly (A/68/389).
The report provides:
(1) a discussion of recent trends in civilian casualty rates, including in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Yemen;
(2) an examination of 30 case studies of drone strikes in which there was at least “a plausible indication” that civilians were killed, injured, or at immediate risk;
(3) recommendations to clarify and promote compliance with international legal standards (in which the Special Rapporteur provides a veritable laundry list of open questions that he suggests lack a sufficient international consensus).