USA: Drone Disclosures a Welcome but Incomplete Step
WASHINGTON, D.C.—In response to today’s release of the Presidential Policy Guidance—a document setting out U.S. standards that appears to apply to some drone and other air strikes overseas— Amnesty International USA’s Security & Human Rights Program Director Naureen Shah issued the following statement:
“While this policy guidance appears to set an important precedent for protecting civilians and limiting killings, it is impossible to assess whether and how it’s been followed. The Obama Administration has still never provided basic information needed to assess the drone program, including the names and identities of people killed in the strikes.
“The Obama administration’s disclosures are welcome but they only tell part of the story, and obscure disturbing practices. We still know extremely little about the standards that would govern signature strikes and so-called rescuer strikes, which have involved potentially unlawful killings.
Last month, following the Administration's release of remarkably low civilian casualty figures, Amnesty International USA wrote the CIA to urge it to finally acknowledge responsibility for the death of Mamana Bibi, a woman who was killed in a drone strike witnessed by her grandchildren. Amnesty International reported on this strike in its 2013 report, “Will I Be Next?” U.S. Drone Strikes in Pakistan. Despite extensive documentation as well as worldwide media attention, the U.S. government has neither confirmed or denied Amnesty's findings, or explained Bibi’s death.
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