Over 100 groups call on Biden to end ‘illegal’ drone strikes
Over 100 organizations in the United States and around the world urge President BidenJoe BidenFive takeaways from Ohio’s special primaries FDA aims to fully approve Pfizer vaccine by Labor Day: Overnight Defense report: Police officer killed in violence outside the Pentagon | Biden Officials Support Repeal of Iraq War Authorization | NSC urged to oversee ‘Havana Syndrome’ response MORE end US drone strikes outside traditional combat zones.
“We are writing to demand an end to the illegal program of deadly strikes outside any recognized battlefield, including through the use of drones,” the 113 organizations written in a letter to Biden obtained by The Hill ahead of its release on Wednesday.
“We appreciate your declared commitments to end ‘Eternal Wars’, to promote racial justice and to center human rights in US foreign policy,” they added. “Disallowing and ending the program of deadly strikes is both a human rights and racial justice imperative to meet these commitments. Twenty years on from the start of a war-based approach that has undermined and violated fundamental rights, we urge you to abandon it and adopt an approach that advances our collective human security.
The letter was organized by the Coalition for Human Rights and Security. It was co-signed by 77 human rights and anti-war groups in the United States and 36 groups based abroad, including in countries where the United States carried out the drone strikes in question, such as six groups from Yemen, three from Somalia, two from Pakistan and one from Libya.
“The United States has been killing people for almost 20 years in Yemen, but to date it has failed to adequately investigate the deaths and injuries of civilians, nor clearly acknowledge the serious damage to families and communities ”, Radhya al-Mutawakel, President of Yemen. The Mwatana-based human rights organization Mwatana said in a statement. “The Biden administration should break with these damaging practices and ensure a thorough investigation and accountability for the damages that have occurred.”
Human rights groups have long denounced drone strikes against what US officials describe as terrorist targets, especially those outside traditional combat zones like Afghanistan or Iraq, as extrajudicial killings who also kill civilians indiscriminately.
The Obama administration, in which Biden was vice president, expanded the drone program during his first term, but then tightened restrictions on strikes during his second term. Old President TrumpDonald Trump Five takeaways from the Ohio special primaries Missouri Rep. Billy Long enters GOP Senate primary Trump-backed Mike Carey wins GOP primary in Ohio special election MORE then relaxed the rules for drone strikes while in office.
Shortly after taking office in January, Biden launched a policy review on drone strikes and commando raids outside conventional war zones and placed temporary limits on those strikes.
While strikes are still permitted, the limits require additional high-level reviews and other bureaucratic hurdles before strikes are approved.
Confirming a New York Times report, which first reported on the review and the limitations, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told reporters in March that there were “interim guidelines that have been published to ensure that the president has full visibility on important proposed actions, which the National Security Council will review.
“This is all part of an effort with the arrival of a new administration to look more broadly at national security issues in all areas, including the legal and policy frameworks that govern these kinds of issues and those kinds of things. operations, ”Kirby said.
In their letter to Biden, the organizations acknowledged his review, calling it “an opportunity to abandon this war-based approach and chart a new course forward that promotes and respects our collective human security.”
The organizations have also sought to define the problem as a matter of racial justice, an area in which Biden is also committed to advancing.
“This program is a centerpiece of America’s Eternal Wars and has taken a terrible toll on Muslim, Brown and Black communities in many parts of the world,” they wrote.
“This has caused lasting psychological trauma and deprived the families of beloved members, as well as the means of survival,” they added. “In the United States, this approach has contributed to new militarized and violent approaches to the national police; racial, ethnic and religious profiling based on bias in investigations, prosecutions and watch lists; warrantless surveillance; and epidemic rates of drug addiction and suicide among veterans, among other harms. It is high time to change course and start repairing the damage done.
Updated at 9:53 am