MEDIA ROOTS — Last month, President Obama claimed that there has not been a significant amount of civilian deaths in Pakistan from unmanned US drones. Yet, more than a dozen Pakistani families of dead civilians have petitioned to the United Nations for an intervention to immediately cease U.S. drone attacks. The UN’s Human Rights Council (HRC) is expected to review the complaint soon.
Considering the fact that Pakistan possesses nuclear weapons, this issue is of great concern for human rights as well as international security. Last year, the UN HRC recognized that while 40 countries have drone technology, the United States is the dominant user of drones for targeted killings. Additionally, the Government of Pakistan has previously stated that the continued use of drones in their airspace, without prior consent, is a direct violation of their sovereignty. Imagine Pakistan, or any other foreign military, flying drones, without consent, over U.S. airspace.
Reprieve, a UK-based legal charity, is formally delivering the complaint. Activist Shahzad Akbar explains, “the international community can no longer afford to ignore the human rights catastrophe which is taking place in North West Pakistan in the name of the ‘War on Terror.’”
Shockingly, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism reveals that, during the year the United States increased its drone operations, multiple civilians were specifically targeted as, either, rescuers or for simply attending the funerals of the slain. The Bureau adds, since Obama took office three years ago, 60 of these victims have been children.
The increased use of drones is the latest example of industry fueling military expansion. Earlier this month, Congress approved a $63 billion spending bill for the Federal Aviation Administration to test and license domestic drone use. As many as 30,000 drones could be in use over U.S. skies by 2020.
Oskar Mosquito is a writer for Media Roots and producer at truth-march.
Photo by Flickr user the US Army