Pakistani human rights group calls for UN resolution to end CIA drone strikes

February 1, 2012

Image of a drone flying

An Islamabad-based human rights charity has today called on Pakistan’s Government to demand the adoption of a UN resolution requiring that the USA stops carrying out drone strikes in its country.

In a letter to Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and President Asif Ali Zardari, the Foundation for Fundamental Rights (FFR) demands that the Pakistani government formally take up the issue of illegal CIA drone strikes in the Pakistani tribal areas that have killed hundreds of innocent civilians.

The call follows President Barack Obama’s recent admission that the US is responsible f#mce_temp_url#or drone strikes in Pakistan.Mirza Shahzad Akbar, Director of FFR, a legal charity that seeks justice for civilian victims of drone attacks, explains in his letter that “These strikes are counter-productive, breach Pakistan’s territorial sovereignty, and alienate the Pakistani public by killing innocent civilians.”

He also highlights the case of Tariq Aziz, the 16-year-old Pakistani who participated in the Grand Waziristan Jirga held in Islamabad in October 2011, where tribal elders unanimously passed a resolution condemning US drone strikes.

Tragically, a few days after the jirga, Tariq’s car was struck by a missile from a US-operated drone and he and his 12-year-old cousin Waheed Rehman were killed. Prime Minister Gilani and President Zardari have both spoken out against the drone strikes.  More than four months ago, the Prime Minister’s Human Right’s Advisor, Mustafa Khokhar, said that the government was planning to raise the issue with the United Nations.  But there has been no movement since that time.

FFR insists on six courses of action that the Prime Minister and President must take:

    1. Confirm the Pakistani government’s complete opposition to US drone strikes in the tribal areas as a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty under Article 2(4) of the United Nations Charter.
    2. Approach the United Nations Security Council and demand adoption of a resolution condemning drone strikes and requiring the US to end the strikes in Pakistan.
    3. Issue a formal complaint to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) and with the Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions as the fundamental right to life is being breached by US drone strikes.
    4. Publicly encourage victims of drone stacks to file complaints to the UNHRC so that the UN Secretary General can list this issue on the Council agenda for discussion.
    5. Notify the US government of Pakistan’s intention to seek relief in the International Court of Justice for the US’s illegal operation of drones in Pakistan.
    6. Sign the Rome Treaty so that the International Criminal Court can have jurisdiction to prosecute the drone attacks as international law crimes.

FFR has given the Prime Minister and President 14 days to respond; failure to do so will result in immediate legal action against the government in the superior courts.  The demand has also been forwarded to the opposition leader and other heads of political parties in Pakistan.

ENDS

Notes to editors

1. Foundation for Fundamental Rights is a legal charity, working towards the advancement, protection and enforcement of fundamental human rights given to the citizens of Pakistan and guaranteed under the Constitution of Pakistan.

For any further information please contact: Usama Khilji email:usamakhilji@hotmail.com, Mobile:+92 332 513 3506 or visit: www.rightsadvocacy.org

2. The text of the letter to Pakistan’s President and Prime Minister is available on Reprieve’s website.

3. Reprieve, a legal action charity, uses the law to deliver justice and save lives, from death row to Guantánamo Bay. Reprieve investigates, litigates and educates, working on the frontline, to provide legal support to prisoners unable to pay for it themselves. Reprieve promotes the rule of law around the world, securing each person’s right to a fair trial and saving lives.  Clive Stafford Smith is the founder of Reprieve and has spent 25 years working on behalf of people facing the death penalty in the USA.Reprieve’s current casework involves representing 15 prisoners in the US prison at Guantánamo Bay, assisting over 70 prisoners facing the death penalty around the world, and conducting ongoing investigations into the rendition and the secret detention of ‘ghost prisoners’ in the so-called ‘war on terror.’

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