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Top rights groups slam US over drone strikes

Superpower “has acted like a hit and run driver," says Amnesty International

<p>Picture: Christian Science Monitor</p>

Picture: Christian Science Monitor

  • Anna Mulrine for Christian Science Monitor
  • International
  • October 23, 2013
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The US government has not been adhering to the drone-strike policy promised by President Obama in his closely-scrutinized speech at the National Defense University last May, in which he pledged that prior to any US attack “there must be a near-certainty that no civilians will be killed or injured – the highest standard we can set.”

That is the assessment of two investigations released Tuesday by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, who noted that it was a “significant” step for the two leading human rights groups to merge their efforts to produce the reports.

Since 2009, for example, the US government has carried out an estimated 80 drone strikes in Yemen, killing an estimated 473 people, according to the Human Rights Watch report.

In many cases, those killed were civilians whose deaths have gone unacknowledged, according to the two groups, who challenge the myth of the “antiseptic assault” and call the strikes violations of the laws of war that may amount to war crimes or even extra-judicial executions.

At the same time, the groups say they cannot definitively make these determinations because the US government has not acknowledged the killings or provided the accountability and transparency promised by Mr. Obama in his May foreign policy address.

What seems clear is that the United States “has acted like a hit-and-run driver, refusing to take responsibility” for the deaths of innocent civilians, argues like a hit-and-run driver, refusing to take responsibility” for the deaths of innocent civilians, argues Naureen Shah, a legal adviser to Amnesty International.

Full Story: Drone strikes: Rights groups berate US for not following its own rules 

Source: Christian Science Monitor

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