Drones and Human Rights. by Scott Amack. Schedule. International Law Human Rights Groups Drone Strike Cases Preventing Civilian Casualties Conclusion. International Law. International Humanitarian Law or the Law of Armed Conflict
Schedule International Law Human Rights Groups Drone Strike Cases Preventing Civilian Casualties Conclusion
International Law International Humanitarian Law or the Law of Armed Conflict Designed to protect individuals not participating in or no longer participating in armed conflict Permits lethal targeting of members of enemy armed forces who participate in armed conflict
Armed Conflict Conflict conducted by an organized armed group, for a prolonged period of time, and reach a certain level of intensity that distinguishes them from sporadic acts of violence or low level domestic disturbances
Targeting outside of Armed Conflict Permissible only when the target poses an imminent threat presenting a substantial risk to life and cannot be eliminated by other means Department of Justice defines imminent threat based on “relevant window of opportunity” Targets are assumed to be continually plotting against the United States
U.S. Position All military age males within a strike zone are treated as combatants This is a violation of international law
Human Rights Groups Human rights first (www.humanrightsfirst.org) Amnesty International
Human Rights First Established 1978 New York NY Charter We fight for equality and for freedom of thought, expression, and religion We support people who struggle to promote these principles within their own societies We work to hold accountable under the law those who violate these principles We strive to ensure the security of individuals and to protect against the arbitrary exercise of state power
Human Rights First Their Stance on Drones As the most forwardly deployed military force in the world, the United States has a strong national interest in maintaining the integrity of international law. To the extent that its targeted killing program fails to maintain—and be seen to maintain—fidelity to these rules, the United States risks not only committing war crimes, but undermining a system of rules that has protected our own military for decades.
Human Rights First Key Concerns regarding drones U.S. is setting a precedent that targeted killing with drones is ok Impact of Drones on our Counterterrorism efforts Drone use may hamper our ability to seek diplomatic and foreign assistance Civilians have not been clearly defined by the U.S. U.S. is not in compliance with international law 4700 individuals killed by drones 25 percent of those are civilians
Human Rights First What they want All documents on drone strikes released publically Cooperation with congressional oversight Identify measures in place for agencies to protect civilians Justice Department to stop asserting the states secrets privilege Justice Department to allow claims for illegal killing White House to conduct a policy review of drone program
Amnesty International Established 1961 by Peter Benenson Charter Amnesty International’s vision is of a world in which every person enjoys all of the human rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights instruments. In pursuit of this vision, Amnesty International’s mission is to undertake research and action focused on preventing and ending grave abuses of these rights.
Amnesty International United against injustice Defend freedom of expression Protect Women’s Rights Abolish the Death Penalty Demand justice for crimes against humanity Demand corporate accountability where companies have abused peoples rights
Amnesty International Game of Drones Designed to bring awareness to U.S. Government’s shadowy “global war” Visiting Major Universities in the U.S. Nov 13 and 14 University of Utah Salt Lake City Screening of the film Dirty Wars Film is about the U.S. war against terrorists Has an Anti U.S. feel Propaganda?
Drone Strike Cases It is estimated that for every terrorist killed by drone strikes there are 50 civilian casualties Official numbers are hard to confirm Pakistan report to the United Nations 2200 people killed in drone strikes the last decade 400 were civilians
Drone Strike Cases Nabila (8 years old) Playing outside with her cousins and grandmother Hellfire missile struck their home Grandmother died of complications from injuries Nabila suffered from severe burns and shrapnel wounds
Drone Strike Cases SadaullahWazir (14 years old) Strike on family home killed 4 while they were eating dinner Sadaullah lost both of his legs and one eye Claim for compensation rejected by the U.S. Died at the age of 17 from complications
Drone Strike Cases Waleed Shiraz (22 years old) Was pursuing a BA in political science Studying at home with his father when a drone struck his home Father was killed immediately Lost the full use of his legs and cannot support his two younger brothers
Drone Strike Cases DawoodIshaq Driving to work with four others Drone targeted car All passengers died and Dawood lost his legs Unable to support his family
Preventing Civilian Casualties May 2013 President Obama signed a document that codified guidelines for the use of force against terrorists. The document stated their must be “near-certainty that no civilians would be killed or wounded” Near Certainty definition has not been made available to the public
Conclusion Are drones really that bad? Senior Government official argue that drones reduce civilian casualties Drones have successfully eliminated top tier al-Qaeda leaders