Amnesty International USA Welcomes UN Inquiry Into U.S. Drone Program

Press Release
January 24, 2013

Amnesty International USA Welcomes UN Inquiry Into U.S. Drone Program

Contact: Sharon Singh, ssingh@aiusa.org, 202-675-8579, @AIUSAmedia

(Washington, D.C.) – Frank Jannuzi, Amnesty International USA deputy executive director, issued the following statement in response to the announcement that the United Nations has launched an inquiry into the U.S. government's drone program:

"Amnesty International USA welcomes the announcement that Mr. Ben Emmerson, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, has launched an inquiry into the civilian impact of the U.S. government's use of drones and other forms of targeted killing.

"The U.S. government's reliance on lethal drones strikes is growing steadily, but the Obama administration has provided no clear legal justification for the program. Congress has abrogated its responsibility to exercise meaningful oversight of this most ubiquitous element of the United States' 'global war on terror,' a paradigm which is in and of itself problematic.

"The U.S. government's policy and practice on the use of lethal force must adhere to international law, be transparent, and ensure accountability. No one should be subjected to extrajudicial killing.

"Mr. Emmerson has stated that he will provide a full and comprehensive set of recommendations to the U.N. General Assembly regarding the duty of the United States "to conduct a effective, independent investigations into the lawfulness and proportionality of such attacks."

"As a good first step, the U.S. Congress should finally hold oversight hearings on the administration's use of lethal force."

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 3 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.