The US government recently announced a new export policy for armed drones. The new policy makes it easier for the US to sell these weapon systems to other countries.
PAX, along with other human rights and peace organisations, denounces the new policy. Armed drones used in secret targeted killings have already caused numerous civilian deaths and injuries, and caused great harm and suffering in affected communities. The use of armed drones in this way has spurred debate both in the US, the European Union and the United Nations.
With the new policy, the Trump administration appears to be putting profit above human rights. The new policy could mean that more countries will misuse drones in similar way. The international community and civil society need to underscore that the current US use of armed drones, in particular for targeted killings, goes against existing international legal principles safeguarding human rights and human lives.
Need for clarity
Therefore, it is urgent that countries clarify, in their own national policy as well as through international agreements, how drones can be used responsibly within international law. Moreover, the international community needs to agree on robust export rules to prevent the use of drones by other states in ways that violate international human rights law or humanitarian law. The European Forum on Armed Drones, a network of civil society organizations in which PAX plays a prominent role, is calling on all states to preserve and strengthen standards of international law by articulating clear policies on the use and transfer of armed drones. Read the full statement here.