An Amnesty International report is calling for action from the U.S. government and international community.
The report, released Tuesday, provides details on victims of U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan.
“Since these drone attacks started, there are more suicide attacks targeting the Pakistani state,” says Liqat Bajwa of the Pakistan-Canada Association, a non-profit group in Vancouver.
The 74-page report outlines the U.S. drone program and policy but focuses on how it has affected those living in areas like North Waziristan, which are a part of a region known as the Federally Administered Tribal Areas. This region is autonomous from the Pakistani state.
One recommendation from the report to the U.S. government is: “Ensure prompt, thorough, independent and impartial investigations into all cases where there are reasonable grounds to believe that drone strikes resulted in unlawful killings. This must include all attacks in which civilians are reported to have been killed or injured.”
Asad Ismi is a freelance writer and international correspondent for the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, a non-profit that covers social issues from a centre-left-wing perspective. Ismi has written extensively on the drone strikes in question and has close friends who live near the region. He says his friends are being held hostage by the situation.
“They completely condemn it and are completely terrorized by it,” says Ismi. “The children can’t go to school and they have PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and teenagers are committing suicide. People can’t congregate on a corner because they are afraid they will be hit as soon as it is seen that there are more than three people together on a corner.
“Not only do we have a terrorized population, more-so it is destabilizing Pakistan which is not a very stable country to begin with,” Ismi says.
According to Bajwa, people in Pakistan resent the U.S. because of the recent drone attacks.
“Americans are losing big time credibility and whoever sides with America are losing credibility too,” Bajwa says.
The Amnesty report was released the same day as a report by Human Rights Watch on U.S. drone strikes in Yemen.
Peter Asaro, founder of the International Committee for Robot Arms Control (ICRAC), has researched drones. The ICRAC is a non-governmental organization made up of experts of international security, arms control, and robot ethics that raises awareness on the use of drones as well as the potential use of fully-autonomous weapons, which do not need a person to control them.
‘The evidence that was collected for the Amnesty International Report on Pakistan and the Human Rights Watch report on Yemen both point to the fact that there is clear evidence of violations of international law, particularly war crimes,’’ says Asaro.
“As well, there’s an obligations on the part of the United States to investigate and try to hold anybody responsible accountable for potential crimes and to determine whether those crimes were committed or not.”
The ICRAC holds information sessions with government officials from around the world about drones and the potential of fully-autonomous robot weapons. Representatives from Pakistan have been present for their sessions in the past. He says the problem is that unlike the U.S., most countries do not have policies put in place regarding such weapons.
“Many of them don’t have a position,” Asaro says. The individuals, the people we talk to, are generally terrified about these kinds of developments but bureaucracies, governments and militaries are rather slow at developing an official position or policy.”
A United Nations report on U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Yemen will be presented to the UN General Assembly Friday, Oct. 25.