UN: drones have caused “permanent fear” and affected wellbeing of children
June 13, 2013
The UN Secretary General has described reports of child casualties caused by armed drones as “increasingly worrisome,” and called on the states involved to conduct “transparent…and effective investigations.”
Ban Ki-moon’s latest report to the Security Council on children and armed conflict finds that the use of “armed and surveillance drones has resulted in permanent fear in some communities, affecting the psychosocial wellbeing of children.”
It also warns that the use of drones has affected access to education, stating that “in some situations, both boys and girls have ceased attending school owing to the fear of drone strikes.”
Mr Ban’s Annual Report of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict was published yesterday (12 June), and comes in the wake of President Obama’s latest attempts to justify the use of covert drone strikes – carried out in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia by the CIA and US Special Forces – in a speech on 23 May.
The comments on drones appear to represent the strongest yet made by the Secretary General himself.
Commenting, Jennifer Gibson, staff attorney at Reprieve, a human rights charity which supports civilian victims of covert drone strikes said: “This must be a wake-up call for anyone who still believes claims that drones only hurt ‘militants.’ It demonstrates that the CIA’s illegal drone programme is not only a threat to the lives of children, but also to their way of life. Whole communities in North West Pakistan – a country with which the US is not at war – are too afraid to even send their kids to school. Fine words from President Obama are not enough – he must stop these illegal and immoral strikes.”
Notes to editors
1. For further information, please contact Donald Campbell in Reprieve’s press office: +44 (0) 207 553 8166 / firstname.lastname@example.org
2. The comments are made on p3, par.11 of the report:
“Over the past years, the United Nations has received an increasingly worrisome number of reports of child casualties in the course of military operations using weaponized unmanned aerial vehicles, or armed drones. I therefore reiterate my call upon relevant States to take all measures necessary to ensure that attacks involving drones comply with the principles of precaution, distinction and proportionality and to conduct transparent, prompt and effective investigations when child casualties may have occurred. In addition, the mixed use of armed and surveillance drones has resulted in permanent fear in some communities, affecting the psychosocial well-being of children and hindering the ability of such communities to protect their children. Reports further indicate that the use of drones has a wider impact on children, especially their access to education. For example, some situations, both boys and girls have ceased attending school owing to the fear of drone strikes.”