The Naval Postgraduate School & The U.S. Department of Homeland Security

HSDL Adds New Reports on Drone Strikes

US DroneThe HSDL has recently added to its collection new reports on US drone strikes in the Middle East, focusing on Pakistan and Yemen.  The reports explore the legality of drone strikes in these areas, as many of them were found to have killed civilians rather than members of terrorist organizations.

'Will I Be Next?': U.S. Drone Strikes in Pakistan is a 2013 report released by Amnesty International. "The report highlights incidents in which men, women and children appear to have been unlawfully killed or injured. By examining these attacks in detail, Amnesty International seeks to shed light on a secretive program of surveillance and killings occurring in one of the most dangerous, neglected and inaccessible regions of the world."

'Between a Drone and al-Qaeda': The Civilian Cost of US Targeted Killing was published this month by Human Rights Watch. "This report assesses whether [drone] attacks comply with the laws of war. It also considers them with respect to the guidelines that President Obama disclosed in May 2013 for targeted killings. Those guidelines seem reflective of international human rights law, which prohibits the use of lethal force in law enforcement situations except when absolutely necessary to protect human life."

The United Nations General Assembly has also recently released a report on the inquiry of the Special Rapporteur on the international legality of drone strikes. "In January 2013, the Special Rapporteur launched an inquiry into the use of remotely piloted aircraft, or drones, in extraterritorial lethal counter-terrorism operations, including in the context of asymmetrical armed conflict. The central objective of the inquiry is to evaluate allegations that the increasing use of remotely piloted aircraft has caused disproportionate civilian casualties, and to make recommendations concerning the duty of States to conduct independent and impartial investigations. […] The Special Rapporteur intends to submit a final report on this subject to the Human Rights Council in 2014."

For more resources on drones and drone strikes, check out the HSDL Featured Topic, Unmanned Systems (UxS).