Saturday, January 26, 2013

UN inquiry on drone strikes

The United Nations has opened an investigation Thursday on the use of drones, unmanned aircraft, including counterterrorism operations in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan and the Palestinian territories.

These raids sparked protests because of losses among the civilian population.

The rapporteur of the UN investigation, Ben Emmerson said it was "imperative" that the judicial and operational structures are urgently put in place to regulate the use of such attacks, in order to meet all the criteria of international law .

Now retired, U.S. General Stanley McChrystal, who had developed the particular counter-insurgency strategy in Afghanistan, launched this month cautioned against excessive reliance on drones, reminiscent of "collateral damage" - the civilian casualties - that cause the anger of local people, particularly in Pakistan.

According to the "Bureau of Investigative Journalism", between 2,600 and more than 3,400 Pakistanis have been killed so far in drone attacks, including 473 to 889 civilians.

The Council of Human Rights of the UN ordered the opening of the investigation at the request of several countries, including Pakistan, Russia and China.

The Yemeni Minister of Human Rights on Tuesday strongly criticized the U.S. drone attacks against Islamist insurgents in his country, raids that are also reported by people in targeted areas.

Hooria Mashhour requested that operations against the jihadists is conducted mainly on the ground to reduce losses among the civilian population.

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