Drone raids violate human rights: UN -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Drone raids violate human rights: UN

Amin Ahmed

ISLAMABAD: UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has termed drone attacks a clear violation of human rights.

“I see indiscriminate killing and injuring of innocent people as a clear violation of human rights,” Ms Pillay said while answering a question at a press conference held here on Thursday at the conclusion of her four-day visit.“Drone attacks do raise serious questions about compliance with international law,” she said.

“The principle of distinction and proportionality and ensuring accountability for any failure to comply with international law is also difficult when drone attacks are conducted outside the military chain of command and beyond effective and transparent mechanisms of civilian or military control,” she said.

Ms Pillay called for a UN investigation into the killing and injuring of innocent people and payment of compensation to the victims of drone attacks.

“I suggested to the government that they invite the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Summary or Arbitrary Executions and he will be able to investigate some of the incidents.”

She acknowledged the enormous challenges faced by people, security forces and the government, including attacks by extremists and criminal organisations, and said she was concerned by allegations of grave violations in the context of counter-terrorist and counter-insurgency operations. “These include extra-judicial killings, unacknowledged detention and enforced disappearances.”

She said the issue of disappearances in Balochistan had become a focus of national debate, international attention and local despair and that she encouraged a determined effort by the government and judiciary to investigate and resolve these cases. Impunity is dangerously corrosive to the rule of law and for this reason she welcomed Prime Minister Gilani’s recent initiative to re-launch political dialogue and development and to bring security operations in the province under grater civilian control.

Ms Pillay said little progress had been made on issues relating to women’s rights and the overall picture was grim, particularly in rural areas.

She said the government had provided extra security to human rights activist Asma Jahangir and urged the president and the prime minister to extend this level of responsiveness to other less known people who faced similar threats to life and to launch an investigation to identify the sources of threats and take appropriate action.