UN Human Rights Rapporteur Condemns U.S. Drone Attacks in Pakistan

Ben Emmerson, United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism, recently visited Pakistan and issued a condemnation of the U.S. drone attacks there.

An odd component of Emmerson’s criticism is the claim that the drone attacks violate Pakistan’s sovereignty, since Pakistan keeps protesting the strikes to U.S. Embassy officials and both houses of Pakistan’s parliament have passed resolutions demanding an end to the drone strikes.

On the other hand, thanks to Wikileaks and other sources we know that in the past Pakistan has publicly condemned drone attacks while privately sharing information with the United States and even encouraged such drone attacks. The drones used in attacks in Pakistan, in fact, are widely believed to be based within Pakistan itself. Until late 2011, U.S. drone operations were apparently based out of Shamis Airfield in the southwest Pakistan.

Apparently, as in the United States, generals and intelligence agencies need pay little heed to something as unremarkable as a legislature.

Here’s the full text of Emmerson’s press release on the drone attacks in Pakistan:

UN Counter-Terrorism Expert meets victims of drone strikes in Waziristan and receives clear statement from the Government of Pakistan that it considers US drone strikes to be counter-productive, contrary to international law, and a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity

ISLAMABAD (14 March 2013) – UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism, Ben Emmerson on Thursday issued the following statement following his visit to Islamabad between 11 and 13 March 2013:

The UN Special Rapporteur on Counter-Terrorism and Human Rights, Ben Emmerson, conducted a three-day visit to Islamabad, Pakistan between 11 and 13 March 2013. This visit took place in connection with the Special Rapporteur’s ongoing inquiry into the civilian impact of the use of drones and other forms of targeted killing in the context of counter-terrorism operations.

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