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Do Armed Drones Respect Human Rights?

April 1, 2014

WILPF has been keeping you updated during this session of the Human Rights Council (HRC) on the initiative to acknowledge the need for drones to be used in respect of Human Rights. Last Friday the resolution was finally passed, not without any controversy.

Who Voted Yes and Who Voted No
Image showing which member states voted yes, no or abstained for the resolution on drones

Result of Vote by Member States on the Resolution

Disagreement over this initiative managed to divide the EU, of which the UK and France were openly against, Germany and the Czech Republic abstained, and Ireland supported it. Also, the USA did not take part in any of the informal negotiations nor did it try to reach an agreement, but simply voted against it on Friday. You can have a look at the results of the vote here.

The argument used by most opposing member states was that the HRC is not the appropriate forum for such a statement. Have a look at our previous blog post to see how we refute that argument.

What the Resolution is About

The text of the resolution is quite strong. Some of the main elements are that it calls for the principles of precaution, distinction and proportionality and for transparency in the use of drones. It also calls for prompt, independent and impartial investigations whenever there are indications of a human rights violation.

Regretfully, some of the very positive suggestions did not make their way to the text, such as the suggestion from Peru to include the right to reparation and redress of victims and their families when their rights are violated by armed drones. Also, WILPF insisted that not only direct violations of human rights must be acknowledged; drones also indirectly violate human rights such as the right to freedom of movement or the right to development. In this sense it is essential to remember that the constant danger of drone attacks and indeed their attacks hinder development.

Next Steps

We will keep discussing all of these issues in September! The resolution decides to organise an Interactive Panel Discussion of experts and WILPF will indeed engage and keep you updated! What do you think should not be left out from that discussion? Let us know by commenting below and let’s start getting ready for it.

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