US Drone Strikes Under Heavy Scrutiny

Amnesty International Photos

Salim bin Ali Jaber was a popular cleric and a 42-year-old father of seven who preached bravely about the scourge of Al Qaeda’s influence upon his village in eastern Yemen.

Mamana Bibi was a farmer, still tending crops at age 68 with her grandchildren in her village in Pakistan despite the frequent presence of drones buzzing overhead.

Both were killed in the past two years in U.S. aerial strikes, which have become the cornerstone of the Obama administration’s national security policy.


Details of their deaths are part of extensive reports released Tuesday by influential human rights organizations Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.

The organizations are calling for an investigation into these highlighted cases of civilian deaths, echoing what UN special rapporteur Ben Emmerson described last week as an urgent need for greater disclosure concerning aerial strikes.

“The Obama administration says, ‘Trust us. We’re following the law. We’re doing the best to keep civilians from harm,’ ” Letta Tayler, a counterterrorism researcher at Human Rights Watch, told the Star Monday. “But looking just at these six strikes the evidence strongly suggests that’s not happening.”

The use of remotely piloted aircraft will be debated at the United Nations General Assembly this Friday.


Source: The Star