UN chief says drone operations must strictly adhere to international law

Eurasia News

UNITED NATIONS: UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has said the operations of armed drones must strictly adhere to international law and international humanitarian law.

“The operations of arms drones must strictly adhere to international law and international humanitarian law,” UN Secretary General told a press conference, while responding to a question.

The secretary general deplored civilian casualties resulting from drone strikes, saying the targets must be legitimate

His statement came five days after the UN General Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution calling on States, using drone strikes as a counter-terrorism measure, to comply with international law.

The unanimous call for regulating the use of remotely piloted aircraft against suspected terrorists was contained in a comprehensive 28-paragraph resolution, titled “Protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism.”

The UN resolution urges states “To ensure that any measures taken or means employed to counter terrorism, including the use of remotely piloted aircraft, comply with their obligations under international law, including the Charter of the United Nations, human rights law and international humanitarian law, in particular the principles of distinction and proportionality.”

The text also calls for taking into account “Relevant United Nations resolutions and decisions on human rights, and encourages them to give due consideration to the recommendations of the special procedures and mechanisms of the Human Rights Council and to the relevant comments and views of United Nations human rights treaty bodies.”

The resolution also takes note of the report of the Special Rapporteur Ben Emersson, “which refers, inter alia, to the use of remotely piloted aircraft, and notes the recommendations, including the urgent and imperative need to seek agreement among Member States on legal questions pertaining to remotely piloted aircraft operations.”

The text also encouraged “States while countering terrorism to undertake prompt, independent and impartial fact-finding inquiries whenever there are plausible indications of possible breaches to their obligations under international human rights law, with a view to ensuring accountability.”

It may be recalled that the Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, in his address to the United Nations General Assembly on September 27, 2013, strongly raised the issue of drones.

The prime minister had said that the use of armed drones in the border areas of Pakistan were a continued violation of Pakistan’s territorial integrity and also stressed that they result in casualties of innocent civilians and are detrimental to efforts to eliminate extremism and terrorism.