News / USA

Human Rights Groups Call for Investigation of US Drone Strikes

Human Rights Groups Call For Investigation of US Drone Strikesi
X
October 22, 2013 9:57 PM
Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International released joint reports Tuesday documenting dozens of civilian deaths from U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen. The reports challenge assertions by the Obama administration that such casualties are rare and call for official investigations into possible violations of international human rights laws. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Brian Padden
Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International released joint reports Tuesday documenting dozens of civilian deaths from U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen.  The reports challenge assertions by the Obama administration that such casualties are rare and call for official investigations into possible violations of international human rights laws. 

Human Rights Watch investigated six drone strikes in Yemen since 2009 and concluded that at least 57 civilians were killed in those attacks. The group's counter terrorism researcher Letta Taylor says, in some cases, these targeted killings violated international law.  

“Two of the six cases that we examined in my report show that the U.S. indiscriminately killed civilians.  This is a clear violation of international law," said Taylor.

The report asserts that drone strikes also violated the standards President Obama set to justify these attacks -- that they respond to an imminent threat to the U.S., there's no hope of capturing the targeted terrorist; and there's "near certainty" that civilians will not be harmed.  

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney says there is a wide gap between these new reports and U.S. casualty  assessments.

"To the extent these reports claim that the U.S. acted contrary to international law we would strongly disagree.  The administration has repeatedly emphasized the extraordinary care that we take to make sure counter terrorism actions are in accordance with all applicable law," said Carney.

Amnesty International investigated nine U.S. drone attacks in Pakistan and found evidence that more than 30 civilians were killed in four of the strikes.  

A recent UN report estimates 400 civlians were killed by drone strikes in Pakistan over the last decade.

Most drone strikes occur in remote areas - making independent assessments difficult.  And the U.S. government rarely acknowledges its role in individual strikes.

Amnesty International’s Naureen Shah is calling for official, public investigations into past drone strikes.

“We are asking President Obama to come clean about who the U.S. government is killing, not just to make a pledge of transparency or to make a promise that things are going right,  but to say who has been killed, how many people have been killed and what the legal and factual justification for these killings was," said Shah.

The groups are also calling for more congressional oversight of the CIA and Defense Department, and reparations for innocent victims of U.S. drone strikes.

You May Like

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More