(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Zeke Johnson, director of Amnesty International USA's Security and Human Rights campaign, issued the following the statement in advance of the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee on the use of drones to target U.S. citizens overseas suspected of terrorist activities:
"This hearing is an important first step, but it is just that. Congress must ensure that the Obama administration provides more information about its drone policy. In addition, Congress should ensure that there is an objective legal assessment of whether U.S. drone policy complies with national and international legal obligations, rather than an attempt to justify the administration's policy preferences.
"A real debate about the drone killing policy would also focus on the U.S. government's respect for the inherent right to life, liberty and human dignity of everyone, regardless of nationality. Though exact numbers of people affected by U.S. drone strikes are elusive, it appears that thousands have been killed, including unfortunate bystanders – most of whom are not U.S. citizens.
"Hearings are important but ultimately, solutions must be realized. The answer is quite simple because the 'drone rule book' governing the use of lethal force already exists: international law. Now the United States just needs to follow it, not ignore it or attempt to rewrite it."
For further information, please see Amnesty International's attached Issue Brief and the two most recent reports on targeted killings.
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.