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AFP
July 10, 2020

World entering new military ‘drone age’: UN expert

National

AFP
July 10, 2020

GENEVA: The world is entering a military "second drone age" with uncontrolled proliferation and no standards governing their use, a United Nations expert told the UN Human Rights Council on Thursday.

Agnes Callamard, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, said the global community needed to take stock of how armed drones have evolved, and examine the challenges they posed to compliance with international law. "There are no robust standards governing drones´ development, proliferation, export, or capability for use of force. No transparency. No effective oversight. No accountability," she said.

"Drone strikes, it seems, are favoured by decision-makers and military alike for their relative efficiency, effectiveness, adaptability, acceptability, deniability, and political gain." The independent rights expert does not speak for the United Nations but reports her findings to it.

Callamard presented a report into targeted killings through armed drones, in light of the proliferation in drone use and their expanding capability over the last five years. "The world has entered a ´second drone age´ in which a vast array of state and non-state actors are deploying ever-more advanced drone technologies," Callamard said, adding that many countries wanted to join the "drone power club".

She said at least 102 countries had an active military drone inventory, while around 40 possess, or were procuring, armed drones. "Since 2015, at least 11 countries allegedly have deployed armed drones, including for the purpose of use of force, such as targeted killings," said Callamard. Her report identified the 11 countries as Britain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and the United States. She said 35 countries were thought to have the largest and deadliest class of drones.