Human Rights and the Will to be free
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Bahrain, MENA & Arab Spring
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JURIST - The Human Rights Implications of "Killer Robots"

JURIST - The Human Rights Implications of "Killer Robots" | Human Rights and the Will to be free | Scoop.it

Fully autonomous weapons, which could select and fire on targets without meaningful human intervention, have the potential to revolutionize the nature of warfare, bringing greater speed and reach to military operations. In the process, though, this emerging technology could endanger both civilians and soldiers.

Nations have been considering the multiple challenges these weapons would pose to the laws of war, also called international humanitarian law. But little attention has been given to the implications for human rights law. If these weapons were developed and used for policing, for example, they would threaten the most basic of these rights, including the right to life, the right to a remedy and the principle of human dignity.

Fully autonomous weapons, also known as autonomous weapons systems or "killer robots," do not yet exist, but research and technology in a number of countries are moving rapidly in that direction. Because these machines would have the power to determine when to kill, they raise a host of legal, ethical and scientific concerns. Human Rights Watch and Harvard Law School's International Human Rights Clinic are advocating for a pre-emptive prohibition on fully autonomous weapons. The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, a global coalition of 52 nongovernmental organizations coordinated by Human Rights Watch, is making the same call.

Spencer Haskins's insight:

Drones WITH human interaction are a gross violation of human rights as well....in these cases there are no charges, no trials, and no habeas corpus....

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Human Rights Panel Criticizes U.S.

Human Rights Panel Criticizes U.S. | Human Rights and the Will to be free | Scoop.it

A United Nations human rights panel has called for more oversight and transparency in the program of targeted drone strikes carried out by the United States and recommended the prosecution of all those involved in unlawful killings and torture overseas, particularly “persons in command positions.” In a report released Thursday, the United Nations Human Rights Committee, a panel of 18 independent experts from different countries, expressed concern that the United States government had not clarified the criteria or legal basis for drone strikes and called for independent oversight of the program. It also drew attention to the limited number of investigations into unlawful killings and the use of torture in overseas operations by the American military and private contractors. It said the responsibility of those who “provided legal pretexts for manifestly illegal behavior should also be established” and urged the government to declassify and release the Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation into the Central Intelligence Agency’s secret rendition activities....

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US drone strikes could be classed as war crimes, says Amnesty International

US drone strikes could be classed as war crimes, says Amnesty International | Human Rights and the Will to be free | Scoop.it
Joint report with Human Rights Watch judges US attacks in Yemen and Pakistan to have broken international human rights law
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UN Human Rights Council: Letter on Remotely-Piloted Aircraft or Armed Drones | Human Rights Watch

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While currently only the United States, the United Kingdom and Israel use armed drones in operations against alleged terrorists, with the United States carrying out the vast majority of these attacks, other states and non-state actors may acquire them in the near future. Since 2009, the United States has carried out at least 400 drone strikes, reportedly killing upwards of 2,600 people, according to independent research groups.

Human Rights Watch has serious concerns that some if not many US drone attacks may violate international law. In examinations of six US targeted killing operations by drones since 2011 in Yemen that had killed and wounded civilians, Human Rights Watch found a clear violation of international humanitarian law in one attack and possible violations in the remainder. Research by Human Rights Watch and others on these operations is hampered by the unwillingness of the US to provide information on these attacks or conduct transparent investigations when there are credible allegations of violations of international law.

This resolution has implications that extend beyond the United States, however. The misuse of drones by any nation sets a dangerous precedent for other governments that may seek to unlawfully use these weapons systems against their enemies.....

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US boycotts UN human rights conference with drone resolution looming

US boycotts UN human rights conference with drone resolution looming | Human Rights and the Will to be free | Scoop.it

Pakistani leaders hope to convince the United Nations Human Rights Council to pass a resolution that would force US drone strikes to adhere to international law – a request that inspired the US to boycott the talks altogether, according to a new report.

The draft of a Pakistani resolution, first reported by Colum Lynch of Foreign Policy, proposes that nations “ensure transparency” when discussing drone strikes and “conduct prompt, independent and impartial investigations whenever there are indications of any violations to human rights caused by their use.”

While official numbers are nonexistent, experts have suggested that anywhere from 200 to nearly 1,000 Pakistani civilians have been killed by US drone strikes, with as many as 200 children possibly among that total.

The issue of drone strikes, while remaining largely out of US headlines, has become one of the most polarizing in Pakistan. While previous reports have made it clear that Pakistani leaders have authorized at least some drone strikes, they publicly maintain that that unmanned American aerial vehicles constantly buzzing in the skies undermine Pakistan’s sovereignty.

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When U.S. drones kill civilians, Yemen’s government tries to conceal it

When U.S. drones kill civilians, Yemen’s government tries to conceal it | Human Rights and the Will to be free | Scoop.it

Their bodies were burning,” recalled Sultan Ahmed Mohammed, 27, who was riding on the hood of the truck and flew headfirst into a sandy expanse. “How could this happen? None of us were al-Qaeda.”

More than three months later, the incident offers a window into the Yemeni government’s efforts to conceal Washington’s mistakes and the unintended consequences of civilian deaths in American air assaults. In this case, the deaths have bolstered the popularity of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the terrorist network’s Yemen affiliate, which has tried to stage attacks on U.S. soil several times. ....

Since the attack, militants in the tribal areas surrounding Radda have gained more recruits and supporters in their war against the Yemeni government and its key backer, the United States. The two survivors and relatives of six victims, interviewed separately and speaking to a Western journalist about the incident for the first time, expressed willingness to support or even fight alongside AQAP, as the al-Qaeda group is known. ....

On extremist Web sites and Facebook pages, grisly pictures of the attack’s aftermath, with bodies tossed like rag dolls on the road, have been posted, coupled with condemnations of the government and the United States. In Sabool and Radda, youths have vowed to join al-Qaeda to fight the United States.

“The drone war is failing,” Berman said. “If the Americans kill 10, al-Qaeda will recruit 100.” ...

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