Hearing on human rights implications of the use of drones:
EP Subcommittee on Human Rights
Jointly with the Subcommittee on Security and Defence
Lieu: Brussels, Belgium - European Parliament
End production: 25/04/2013 First transmission: 25/04/2013
A joint hearing by the Subcommittee of Human Rights and the Subcommittee on Security and Defence on the human rights implications of the use of drones took place in the EP. Ben EMMERSON, UN Special Rapporteur on Counter-Terrorism and Human Rights was invited as a guest speaker along with eminent experts on the topic. The hearing was coupled with the presentation of a study carried by Dr. Nils MELZER, entitled "Human Rights Implications of the Usage of Drones and Unmanned Robots in Warfare" and commissioned by the Subcommittee on Human Rights. With the increased use of drones, the hearing examined the international legal standards as well as the issues of transparency and accountability.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||Exterior view of the European Parliament, Brussels, Belgium (1 shot)
||SOUNDBITE (English) Nils MELZER, author of the DROI study , Senior Advisor and Senior Fellow, Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP): ""The most pressing policy challenge right now is to pursue lack of transparency, especially I'm referring here to the US drone policy in the context of conflict with Al Qaida and affiliated forces."
||SOUNDBITE (English) Nils MELZER, author of the DROI study , Senior Advisor and Senior Fellow, Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP): "The EU should make the promotion of transparency in the accountability and the rule of law in relation to theses weapons systems, their development, proliferations and use to make a declared priority of European foreign policy."
||SOUNDBITE (English) Ben EMMERSON, UN Special Rapporteur on Counter-Terrorism and Human Rights: "There are some kinds of weapons with by their very nature are indiscriminate, incapable of distinguishing between combatants in an armed conflict and civilians. Drones are not such a weapon, even weaponised drones."
||SOUNDBITE (English) Ben EMMERSON, UN Special Rapporteur on Counter-Terrorism and Human Rights: "The critical area of pressure for this strategy is that it requires an entire rethink of international humanitarian laws. The USA calls it a translation of existing principles to accommodate new technologies."
||SOUNDBITE (English) Ben EMMERSON, UN Special Rapporteur on Counter-Terrorism and Human Rights: "There needs to be an attempt to reach consensus on a applicable legal principles. There needs to be an attempt to reach a common European statement, the Member States themselves need to analyze and publicly explain their own understanding of the international law principle applicable."
||SOUNDBITE (French) Camille GRAND, Director, Fondation pour la Recherche Stratégique, Paris: "Since 2001 and most specifically since 2008, and I give you some figures, it's been the systematic use by USA of drones conducting targeting attacks designed to eliminate individuals who have been designated as enemy combatants in territories which are not war areas where American forces are deployed."
||SOUNDBITE (French) Camille GRAND, Director, Fondation pour la Recherche Stratégique, Paris: "According to information provided by NGO's, 350 strikes have taken place in Pakistan, about 50 in Yemen a few in Somalia, and one in the Philippines. Theses strikes have led to the elimination of between 2500 and 4000 targets indentified as enemy combatants and between 200 and 300 civilians have been killed in theses attacks, even if this figures are controversial"
||SOUNDBITE (English) Hilary Brooke STAUFFER, Deputy Director, Reprieve, UK: "The use of drones has terrible physical and psychological impact on civilians in these places. And I'm not limiting my remarks only to those civilians who may be collateral damage from a drone strike. I mean just people who are trying to go about their ordinary day and they are unable to do so".
||SOUNDBITE (English) Hilary Brooke STAUFFER, Deputy Director, Reprieve, UK: "What we need must of all is for the European Union to provide a counterbalance to the United States. Because if we don't have any, the US will take silence as acquiescence, and we can't have that going forward".
||SOUNDBITE (English) Ana GOMES (S&D, PT): (the discussion on drones) "I believe it needs to broaden, not just to the forefront committees but actually to the whole Parliament. We need a resolution quickly on this".
||SOUNDBITE (English) Ana GOMES (S&D, PT): "We need to conduct a similar hearing with our American colleagues who seat with us in the legislative Trans-Atlantic dialogue. We need them to understand what are the tremendous implications of this outrageous policy of the US administration".
||SOUNDBITE (English) Baroness Sarah LUDFORD (ALDE, UK): "We have very much in minds the human rights preaches and were reminded by professor O'Connell that there have apparently been 4000 death including 2 to 300 children, that in itself is very much in the forefront of our minds. But, more abstractly, there is this huge danger to the international legal system".
||SOUNDBITE (English) Charles TANNOK (ECR, UK): "I do think there is a need now for new thinking internationally in terms of the jurisprudence surrounding this area. I agree that it's not for one state to act unilaterally and just make up the law who goes along and it's clearly now a need for the UN to convene an international conference to look at this again. Because I don't think the existing law necessarily addresses all the questions that are posed by it".
||Cutaways (4 shots)