U.S. Must Submit Footage of Drone Strikes or Face U.N. Investigation

The United States has been told to submit footage to an independent investigation looking into its continuing drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia, or face U.N. investigation, reports The Independent.

Ben Emmerson, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Counter-Terrorism, requested that the United States hand over video footage recorded by drones during strikes to be independently investigated for human rights violations.

“We can’t make a decision on whether it is lawful or unlawful if we do not have the data. The recommendation I have made is that users of targeted killing technology should be required to subject themselves, in the case of each and every death, to impartial investigation. If they do not establish a mechanism to do so, it will be my recommendation that the UN should put the mechanisms in place through the Human Rights Council, the General Assembly and the Office of the High Commissioner,” Emmerson said.

The request came after drones killed 13 people in three separate attacks last week in Pakistan. Sixteen more were killed by drone strikes yesterday.

“During the last session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva in June many states, including Russia, China and Pakistan called for an investigation into the use of drone strikes as a means of targeted killing,” said Emmerson. “I was asked by these states to bring forward proposals on this issue and I am working closely on the subject of drones with Christof Heyns the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary execution. The issue is moving rapidly up the international agenda.”

Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) attacks began in 2004 and have increased drastically since Obama has taken office. According to The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, the Obama Administration has executed 284 strikes while the Bush Administration executed 52 strikes. It’s estimated that between 2,942 and 4,431 total people have been killed, including between 541 and 1,085 civilians and 200 and 209 children.

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