A new report shows that US assassination drones in Pakistan have killed “scores of innocent civilians” instead of targeting terrorists.
On Tuesday, the Brussels-based International Crisis Group (ICG) published a report entitled “Drones: Myths and Reality in Pakistan” that says the United States’ refuses to acknowledge that the CIA-led drone campaign “undermines efforts to assess the program’s legality.”
The ICG called on Washington to “demonstrate respect for the international humanitarian law principles of humanity, distinction, proportionality and military necessity.”
The report said the US must “establish clearer lines of authority and accountability, including greater congressional and judicial oversight.”
“The Obama administration should terminate any practice, such as the reported signature strikes, that does not comply with principles of international humanitarian and human rights law. It must also introduce transparency to the drone program, including its governing rules, how targets are selected and how civilian damage is weighed.”
Signature strikes target groups of men by using behavior patterns associated with terrorist activity rather than targeting terrorists with known identities.
Pakistan’s tribal regions are often attacked by US assassination drones.
According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, the United States’ drone strikes in Pakistan have killed up to 3,587 people since 2004.
Washington claims that its airstrikes target militants who cross the border into and out of Afghanistan.
Pakistanis have held many demonstrations to condemn the United States’ violations of their national sovereignty.
In September 2012, a report by the Stanford Law School and the New York University School of Law gave an alarming account of the effect that assassination drone strikes have on ordinary people in Pakistan’s tribal areas. The report noted, “The number of ‘high-level’ targets killed as a percentage of total casualties is extremely low — estimated at just 2%.”
The killing of Pakistani civilians, including women and children, has strained relations between Islamabad and Washington.