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

Scotland Vote Raises Questions of International Law

Experts say self-determination, as defined and protected by international law, confined narrowly to independence movements in process of de-colonization More

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Annual Military Exercise Takes on New Meaning for Ukraine Troops

Troops from 15 nations participating in annual event, 'Rapid Trident' in western Ukraine More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid