European Parliamentarians Express Concerns Over US Drone Strikes

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The United States is putting "global stability and international order at risk" by pursuing a policy of targeted extrajudicial drone strikes against suspected terrorists, European politicians have warned.

At least 3,000 people, including a large number of civilians, are said to have been killed by controversial CIA drone strikes in Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen since 2004.

Early March, the MEPs Ana Gomes (S&D–Portugal), Sarah Ludford (ALDE–UK) and Rui Tavares (GREENS–Portugal) hosted a briefing on “The Human Rights Implications of the U.S. Targeted Killing Program” in order to discuss transparency and accountability issues raised by the U.S. targeted killing program. The briefing included a discussion of broader human rights and international law implications as well as an update on the recently launched UN inquiry into the civilian impact of the use of drones and other forms of targeted killing.

In their statement released after the briefing, the hosts expressed their deep concerns “about the legal basis, as well as the moral, ethical and human rights implications of the United States’ targeted killing programme that authorises the CIA and the military to hunt and kill individuals who have suspected links to terrorism anywhere in the world.”

“[C]oncerned that the US is not abiding by its International Law obligations, under both International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law” they see a “threat to international legal standards from this US attempt to undermine them.”

Furthermore, they “strongly believe that the US policy on targeted killings puts global stability and international order at risk, entails the proliferation of the technology used for that purpose, and also entails retaliation from state and non-state actors through selective killing, possibly of US and European citizens.”

Senior British parliamentarians have also raised concerns in Westminster over president Obama's use of drones in Pakistan. Former British Foreign Office minister Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead has warned "action must be taken to ensure that there is accountability and reparations when a drone attack goes wrong".

The House of Commons defence committee announced it would conduct an investigation into the British military's use of drones after the Royal Air Force decided to expand its use and number of Unmanned Ariel Vehicles.

Pressed by MPs and peers, the UK government has insisted it has only used its own drones inside Afghanistan as the British military's presence there is at the request of the Afghan government. However British intelligence agencies have been accused of passing information to the CIA to help the Americans carry out strikes in Pakistan. 


Ned Simons (08.03.2013) "US Drone Strikes Putting 'Global Order At Risk', Warn European Politicians", Huffington Post.

Noa Yachot (07.03.2013) "European Parliament Members Speak Out Against U.S. Targeted Killing Program", American Civil Liberties Union.

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