A United Nation senior official voiced concern over armed drone attacks in counterterrorism actions during a meeting with the Security Council that coincided with World Humanitarian Day.
At the beginning of the meeting UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said he was particularly concerned about the use of explosive weapons such as roadside bombs, air strikes and artillery in populated areas, which can kill and maim, having profound humanitarian consequences, informed the UN website.
In this regard, he reiterated his call to the Council and Member States to work through the UN General Assembly to recognize and act on this critical issue. “We need to better understand the types of explosive weapons that are most problematic. We need to examine how existing international law can help regulate use. And we need to consider the concrete steps that can be taken to reduce the humanitarian impact of explosive weapons in populated areas. ” he said.
In her address to the Council, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay voiced concern over human rights implications for the protection of civilians of armed drone strikes carried out in the context of counter-terrorism in Gaza, Pakistan and Yemen, among other countries. The current lack of transparency surrounding their use creates an “accountability vacuum” and affects the ability of victims to seek redress, she said, urging all relevant States “to clarify the legal basis for such strikes as well as the safeguards in place to ensure compliance with applicable international law,” she said.
The US, a Security Council permanent member, is conducting attacks with drones in Pakistan and Yemen. Israel, not a member, is responsible for this kind of attacks over Gaza.
The US, by now the only country who explained something about its drone strikes program admitted civilian casualties.
According to the New America Foundation there have been at least 360 US drone attacks in Pakistan and 80 in Yemen since 2005.