Human rights groups say drone strikes violate laws of war

Posted: October 30, 2013 in Current Affairs, World Affairs
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Two separate reports on U.S. missile strikes, including armed drone attacks, released Tuesday by two separate human rights organizations claim that the strikes have killed more civilians than the U.S. government has acknowledged and may be violations of international law.

One report, released by Amnesty International, investigated drone attacks in the Pakistani region of North Waziristan, a region dominated by the Pakistani Taliban, and far from the central authority of that country’s Islamabad government, as well as the site of the more intensive U.S. drone campaign.

Among those killed by errant drone strikes, the Amnesty report claims, was a 68-year-old grandmother named Mamana Bibi, who was gathering vegetables when she was hit in October 2012. Her five grandchildren were also reportedly wounded in the attack.

The second incident spotlighted in the report took place in July 2012, when 18 civilians were killed by two separate strikes, including, the report claims, people who were attempting to rescue those injured after the first strike.

According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, the United States has carried out 376 drone strikes in Pakistan since 2004, with between 2,525 and 3,613 people killed.

The second report, released by Human Rights Watch, claims that the U.S. had made six “unacknowleged” drone strikes in Yemen, which killed a total of 82 people, including 57 civilians. The report specifically cites an attack that occurred in September 2012, in which 12 people, including three women and a pregnant woman were killed when a vehicle believed to be a tribal leader possibly affiliated with Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

That attack, the report claims, may have violated a law of war which prohibits attacks that don’t discriminate between civilians and combatants.

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