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Draft UN report calls for ban on drones

February 4, 2014 at 10:30 am

The UN Human Rights Council has prepared a draft report which calls for a universal ban on making, transporting and using unmanned aircraft vehicles (UAVs), otherwise known as drones. According to reports in Germany, the UNHRC has made the call because UAVs breach international law and create “widespread fears about protecting lives in war and peace time”.

Clearly sceptical about claims that drones could be programmed to perform humanitarian functions, the UNHRC report noted that there is no existing mechanism to ensure legal accountability for those who use the aircraft.

The report called for all UN member states to announce “a national suspension of, at least, testing, producing, assembling, owning and using UAVs” until an internationally agreed upon framework regarding the future of such aircraft can be set out.

Several countries, including Pakistan, have made strong representations to the UNHRC about the effects of drones, which prompted the UN agency to prepare its report. The Pakistani government pointed out that drones kill people indiscriminately, breach national sovereignty and thus break international laws and conventions.

Drones are used extensively by the US in what it claims is an international campaign against terrorists. The UNHRC has called on Washington to issue orders and guidelines which control the production and use of such weapons.