The interim report by U.N. Special Rapporteur Ben Emmerson on the use of remotely piloted aircraft in counter-terrorism operations

UNGA logoMark Shapiro sends news of the third annual report submitted to the General Assembly by the current Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism. The Special Rapporteur intends to submit a final report on this subject to the Human Rights Council in 2014.

Len Aldis comments that its presentation to the UN General Assembly, many of whose countries have suffered from the drones, is significant.  He looks forward to the reaction of our government in this debate and hopes that the report could see the start of a campaign world-wide.

Michael Isikoff, an investigative journalist for NBC News, wrote on October 17th, that this report says drone strikes have killed far more civilians than U.S. officials have publicly acknowledged – at least 400 in Pakistan and as many as 58 in Yemen – and chides the U.S. for failing to aid the investigation by disclosing its own figures.

Ben Emmerson, who issued the “interim” report, said the U.S. had created “an almost insurmountable obstacle to transparency.” He did not accept that considerations of national security justify withholding statistical and basic methodological data of this kind”. Isikoff continues:

ben emmerson 2“According to Emmerson (opposite), the Pakistani government provided him with new casualty numbers for strikes in the country’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), where the U.S. government has targeted Al Qaeda operatives and their associates since 2004.

“While acknowledging the difficulty in compiling precise figures in a region largely beyond government control, he states that Pakistani officials confirmed “at least 400 civilians had been killed as a result of remotely piloted aircraft strikes and a further 200 individuals [killed] were regarded as probably non-combatants.” He added that Pakistani officials said those figures were likely to be an underestimate, due to “underreporting and obstacles to effective investigation.”

Emmerson and his researchers have identified 33 “sample remotely piloted aircraft strikes that appear to have resulted in civilian casualties.” Most of these were by the U.S., he said, but about “eight or nine” were Israeli strikes in Gaza. He did not identify the strikes, saying he is still investigating them and plans to present his findings to the U.N. Human Rights Council.

Read the report on drone casualties

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This entry was posted in Afghanistan, Armed drones, Civilian deaths, Drone strikes, Pakistan, Somalia, UN, Yemen and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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