Drones: violating human rights -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Drones: violating human rights

The UN high commissioner for human rights, while condemning the US drone campaign carried out in the Pakistani Tribal area, has termed it as a stark violation of human rights and has called for a UN investigation into the drone strikes during a media briefing on the conclusion of her four-day visit to Pakistan on Thursday. Drone strikes according to the UNSG, “raise serious questions about their compliance with the international law”.

Arrangements for the protection of innocent civilians that become the target of indiscriminate use of aerial strikes by the CIA ought be made. This lack of transparency is indicative of yet another US failure in its policies and strategies in the war against terror. Many international human rights organizations are working to expose how the CIA-controlled program is operating in secret, without a clear legal framework and without any accountability to Congress, thus revealing a civil-military disconnect in the US, the civilian administration is perceived to favor political reconciliation while the Pentagon still prioritizes the need for greater gains through military might.

The drone strikes are back with a vengeance as, according to Panetta the “US is running out of patience” and have gunned the pedal upon the drone strikes that are claimed to target key al-Qaeda operatives. The fact that Abu Yahya al-Libi, the al-Qeada second in command was killed in a recent attack along with 29 other people, may be given as proof of success, but what about the innumerable who will replace him? Who accounts for the other 28? Who is responsible for the psychological trauma that the tribal people undergo? The ever looming fear of death by drones has compelled many to leave their homes and those that remain have no peace.

Chris Woods, a journalist at the British-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism, who exposed CIA drone attacks on rescuers and funeralgoers in Pakistan, criticises the US media for not widely reporting civilian casualties of US drone strikes abroad, which he said give a “warped understanding of what is taking place.” He cites the case of the killing of militant Pakistani leader Badar Mansoor, in North Waziristan this year. His death was widely reported, but reports of the others killed were mixed. The Pakistani media has been trying to highlight the counterproductivity of drones in the tribal areas, that is only fuelling anti-American sentiments and producing large number of prospective recruits that further fuels the insurgency.

The US could do well without the aggressive public remarks and its stance to continue drone strikes in Pakistan if peace is what it actually wants for South Asia. An investigation into the use and the effectiveness of such strikes surely, is the dire requirement of the innocent Pakistani civilians.

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