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

Video Drug Use Rises in Afghanistan

Ninety percent of world’s heroin comes from Afghanistan More

Here's Your Chance to Live in a Deserted Shopping Mall

About one-third of the 1200 enclosed malls in the US are dead or dying. Here's what's being done with them. More

Video NASA: Big Antarctica Ice Shelf Is Disintegrating

US space agency’s new study indicates Larsen B shelf could break up in just a few years More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs