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19 NGOs urge EU states to stop supporting US drones

US drone [TheShorTimes/Facebook]

The European Forum on Armed Drones (EFAD) and other NGOs signed a joint statement yesterday urging European states to stop assisting US lethal drone strikes across the Middle East.

Members of EFAD claim that assisting the US targeted killing programme may violate international law, even though some drone strikes have taken place within the context of war. The US claims the right to target and “deliberately kill individuals, members of particular groups or those believed to have an association with certain groups, where they are, which is often outside situations” of war.

The statement goes on to argue that transparency is key to assessing the legality of the drone programme. Several documented cases show that the right to life may have been violated by the US.

Intelligence sharing

“The US doesn’t conduct these operations alone; its lethal drone programme relies heavily on assistance from many other states, including some from within Europe,” the statement read.

Read: Bahrain military court upholds civilian death sentences

In a new report published this month by Amnesty International, it was revealed that the United Kingdom, Germany and the Netherlands share intelligence including metadata which allows the US to locate and kill individuals. Some European countries including the UK allow their territory to be used by US personnel and share intelligence-led communication for strikes across the globe. All of this could mount a legal case for murder of those individuals killed beyond the boundaries of international law.

“By sharing intelligence information used for targeting, making airbases on their territory available, and hosting crucial communications infrastructure, European States are intricately entwined in and integral to the US’ armed drones operations,” said the report.

EDAF and others call upon EU states to “disclose publically” their standards when it comes to govern all forms of assistance for lethal drone strikes to ensure international law violations are not taking place.

US drone strikes have killed 10,677 people globally, with 335 reported to be children according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism. There has been zero successful cases on the US drone programme due to lack of transparency.

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