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Civilian deaths cause by US terror drone hits spur UN concerns

Press TV [1]
Dec 11, 2012

A recent US assassination drone in Pakistan has again killed a number of civilians as the surging frequency of such strikes raises growing concerns at the United Nations, Press TV reports.

Confirming the civilian fatalities, unnamed US officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity also claimed this week that two missile strikes fired from the American terror drones killed a couple of al-Qaeda leaders.

Targeting and killing of civilians in military operations is a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Additionally, the aerial operation of the assassination aircraft over the sovereign nation of Pakistan by the US also violates the international treaty.

In response to a question by Press TV’s New York correspondent regarding the most recent US drone strike in Pakistan, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s spokesman Martin Nesirky noted his growing concerns regarding the civilian casualties caused by American assassination drone strikes.

“I think the secretary general is on record with regards to the drones; if you look at his most recent report on protection of civilians, you’ll find there is ample reference to the use of such unmanned aerial vehicles or drones,” said Nesirky.

In that report, the secretary general points directly to the use of assassination drones without mentioning any member states by name, acknowledging that “Drones have reportedly caused hundreds of civilian casualties.”

He further notes that ensuring accountability with international law is “difficult when drone attacks are conducted outside the military chain of command and beyond effective and transparent mechanisms” of control as is the US targeted killing program, which is principally operated by the American spy agency, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

Reports on the extensive damages caused by the American assassination drones are widespread, including a recent Stanford University study that puts civilians killed at between 1,500 and 2,500 people.

It further adds that merely 2 percent of those killed constitute the military targets that US authorities claim to be after, meaning that 49 of every 50 drone strike victims are civilians.