Leading rights groups to Trump: publish lethal drones policy

March 7, 2018

Image of Trump with drones in the background

Thirteen leading human rights organizations have, Wednesday, called on President Trump to urgently publish his policy on the use of lethal force abroad after he reportedly changed the rules to reduce oversight and roll back safeguards.

The Trump Administration has refused to publicly clarify whether the Presidential Policy Guidance (PPG), issued under President Obama, is still in effect. Leaks suggest President Trump has rolled back the safeguards contained within the PPG, replacing them with guidance that gives both the Pentagon and the CIA much greater freedom to carry out strikes in Yemen, Somalia, Niger and elsewhere.

In a joint statement, the thirteen organizations, raise concerns that the new unpublished policy could be leading to illegal targeting of individuals outside of armed conflict, an increased number of civilian deaths, and a heightened role for the CIA in carrying out drone strikes which lack accountability and oversight.

The statement calls on President Trump to urgently publish his updated policy guidance, ensure that all lethal operations are in line with international law and implement effective investigations after drone strikes to ensure accountability. The statement also calls on allies of the United States to withhold support for US operations that might be illegal.

Commenting, Jennifer Gibson, Head of the Assassinations Programme at Reprieve:

“An area of policy as crucial as where the President can kill, should not remain hidden in the shadows. Last year alone, President Trump carried out more than three times as many strikes as Obama in Yemen and authorized two raids that killed almost a dozen children and a Navy SEAL. Congress has been clear – President Trump needs to disclose his new guidance and he needs to do so by this Monday. Only then can they, and the American public, ensure this policy is making us more, rather than less, safe.”


Notes to Editors:

1. The joint statement can be viewed here.

2. The thirteen organizations are: American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International, Center for Civilians in Conflict, Center for Constitutional Rights, Coalition for Peace Action, Friends Committee on National Legislation, Human Rights Clinic – Columbia Law School, Human Rights First, Human Rights Watch, Interfaith Network on Drone Warfare, National, Religious Campaign Against Torture, Open Society Foundations, and Reprieve.