The US government has been getting sued a lot lately. First Megaupload users sued the FBI for loss of service and content, then Occupy protesters sued the city and the NYPD for police brutality behind pepper spray use. Continuing that trend is the families of Pakistani children that have been killed by US drone attacks. A legal action charity in London, Reprieve, has delivered a complaint to the UN over the use of unmanned drones for combat operations in Pakistan. More than a dozen families have pleaded with the US government to stop using the drones which have killed almost 800 people in the country since their use began. The US has refused to respond to the complaints.
US President Barack Obama has endorsed the use of the drones claiming its an effective weapon for hunting down suspected Taliban militants and neutralizing them faster than if they had to send ground forces. For the longest time the military and the government denied the use of such weapons. However international media has managed to bring their use to the world’s attention despite US media attempts to stop it.
Again the use of it was questioned when it was brought up to him in a virtual town hall meeting last month. Despite the known killings of innocent people, including children, Obama continued to defend their use.
“For us to be able to get them in another way would involve probably a lot more intrusive military action than the ones we’re already engaging in.”
Despite Obama’s claim of making military actions safer, Pakistani families on the other hand are saying that the raids are killing their families and doubt that the Americans controlling the drones are doing so to the best of their abilities. In the statement sent to the UN by Reprieve, the victims are demanding an investigation saying that the use of the drones violates a standing treaty guarantees the protection of their rights.
The treaty they are referring to is the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights(ICCPR) which guarantees “No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life,” “No one shall be subjected to torture” and “Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person.” The families of the victims say the drones violate that treaty because there is no justification for using them and that they consistently kill innocent people. This is the statement that was put forward:
“There is no plausible legal basis for the attacks…
“There is no declared war between the United States and Pakistan. Pakistan has not – and, indeed, could not – given legally effective ‘consent’ for the killing of its own innocent civilians by American drones. The US has taken no steps to claim self-defense, and the facts would anyway not fit such an argument…
Because innocent citizens of Pakistan continue to be killed in the illegal CIA drone war in Pakistan, it is respectfully suggested that this application be considered with the utmost urgency.”
The US nor UN have responded to the complaint as of yet. Many are expecting that the plea will go unanswered. Which is why the families of the victims have obtained human rights lawyer Shahzad Akbar from Reprieve to launch a legal action. However I firmly believe that the US will continue to deny the losses of life that occur from these attacks and continue to conduct deadly strikes that will kill innocent men, women and children. There is little more that can show the absolute disregard US imperialism has for human life, and those who support the imperialist conquests.