US Drone Strike Investigations Point to Civilian Deaths

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The United Nations and two high-profile human rights groups are calling on the Obama administration to investigate reports of civilians killed and injured by drone attacks in Pakistan and Yemen.

Two reports released Tuesday provide more evidence that points to civilian deaths.

Is enough being done to avoid civilian casualties when these strikes are carried out? Cliff May, president of the foundation for defense of democracies, answers this and more, on CBN Newswatch, Oct 22.

In Pakistan, Amnesty International investigated nine suspected U.S. drone strikes since May 2012 and says it found strong evidence that four of the attacks killed 30 civilians.

In Yemen, Human Rights Watch investigated six airstrikes since 2009 and concluded that they killed 57 civilians. On their website, a video shows the places where the attacks occurred and features interviews with family members of those killed or injured.

A mother laments the death of her son, a taxi driver, who she says innocently transported suspected militants.

Another woman shows the stomach injury of a little girl, hit by flying shrapnel from missiles.

"She's ill," the woman says. "She vomits and screams because of her stomach."

The two reports coincide with a report released by the United Nations on Friday that calls on the United States to reveal the number of civilians killed by American drone strikes targeting Islamic militants.

"The single greatest obstacle to an evaluation of the civilian impact of drone strikes is lack of transparency," the report by U.N. Special Rapporteur Ben Emmerson said. "Which makes it extremely difficult to assess claims of precision targeting objectively."

The Obama administration has not responded so far to the new reports.

The United States carried out its first drone strike in Pakistan in 2004 and has authorized more than 300 since then. In the last several years, the frequency has declined as tensions between the United Statse and Pakistan have grown.

In May, the president addressed the use of drones in a speech. While noting their efficiency he also emphasized that the United States does not conduct such strikes unless there is "near-certainty that no civilians will be killed or injured."

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CBN News
Heather Sells

Heather Sells

CBN News Reporter

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