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PETITION FOR A GLOBAL BAN ON WEAPONIZED DRONES

Deutsch

To the United Nations Secretary General, the Permanent Representatives of Member States of the United Nations, the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, the U.S. Secretary of State, the President of the United States, Majority and Minority Leaders in Congress and the Senate.

** ** **

Whereas the unique characteristics of weaponized aerial drones have led over the last 20 years to their routine, accelerating use by governmental and non-governmental forces for assassination and other assaults; and, collectively hundreds of thousands of people in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Mali, Niger, Ethiopia, Gaza/Palestine, the Kurdish regions of the Middle East, Azerbaijan, Armenia, the Philippines and Iran[1] have been murdered, maimed and terrorized by their unlawful and immoral use; and drone attacks on Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Israel and on U.S. forces based in Iraq show that no one is safe from this deadly technology; and

Whereas more often than not, weaponized drone attacks maim, kill, terrorize and displace non-combatants, including women and children, with reportedly 90% of the strikes in Afghanistan falling into this category during one period; and there are numerous, well-documented instances of drone attacks on weddings, business meetings, men leaving work for the day, family homes, civilian vehicles and funerals, among others; and

Whereas, the unique capabilities of weaponized aerial drones for stealth, their ability to watch, hovering over communities for hours and even days, and to kill on command (an eye in the sky that can deal death from the sky), make them unacceptable weapons of terror; and

Whereas the use of weaponized drones violates basic human rights as guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, particularly with respect to the rights to life, privacy and fair trial; and the Geneva Conventions, particularly with respect to its protection of civilians against indiscriminate, unacceptable levels of harm; and

Whereas weaponized drones routinely and illegally violate the national and international boundaries of states; and

Whereas weaponized drones are routinely used to prosecute undeclared and illegal wars; and

Whereas, due to the fact that the materials necessary to build and arm a rudimentary aerial drone are neither technologically advanced nor expensive, weaponized aerial drones are already proliferating at an alarming rate, extending even to non-state groups and militias that have no other airborne weapons; and

Whereas weaponized drones are big business for a wide range of countries around the world and therefore unlikely to be willingly renounced; and

Whereas, the most advanced and widely used weaponized aerial drones rely on optical, electronic and biometric surveillance, the use of which, by its very nature, is an aggressive, intrusive, hostile act of occupation of emotional and public space which is, in and of itself, repressive and illegal in any other context; and

Whereas,

Given that

  • Drone imaging, electronic surveillance and the use of artificial intelligence for drone targeting is often not accurate or as clear as reputed, and
  • Interpretation of drone imaging and other intelligence is spread over numerous individuals and organizations with various agendas and biases, and
  • Interpretation of drone imaging is often done by individuals without the cultural sensitivity and background intelligence to understand what they see in context,

The use of weaponized aerial drones presents an unreasonable, unacceptable hazard to civilian populations, and to combatants, under international law; and

Whereas, the use of artificial intelligence technology in weaponized aerial drones that are currently being remotely controlled by humans is hastening development of autonomous, robotic drones, guided by the bias and goals of their makers but with the capacity to select their own targets and to decide when and where to attack based on necessarily limited prior programming and data that is difficult even for humans to analyze; and

Whereas the United States has set a precedent where armed drone attacks are not counted separately from other air attacks, and resulting casualties therefrom are either not recorded or the records of such information are hidden; and

Whereas, remote control of weaponized aerial drones can lead political and military leaders to undertake risks of surveillance, attack and prolonging combat that they would not undertake were they to have to risk the lives of military personnel under their command, thus lowering the threshold for war and expanding zones of conflict; and

Whereas due to the previously stated concerns, weaponized airborne drones constitute a tool for violating the integrity of national and international law, creating an expanding circle of enmity and so increasing the likelihood of larger wars,

** ** **

We urge the UN Human Rights Council and relevant United Nations committees to immediately investigate human rights violations by U.S. drones and other perpetrators of drone attacks that have been reported thus far; and

We urge the International Criminal Court to investigate the most egregious instances of drone attacks on civilian targets as war crimes and crimes against humanity, as well as “double tap” attacks on aid workers and funerals and any strikes that occur in countries where there is no declared war between the perpetrator country and the state where the attacks occurred; and

We urge the President of the United States along with Congressional leadership to investigate the actual casualty counts from drone attacks by the United States and the context in which they occur, and to ban the use and sale of these weapons; and

We urge the governments of every country around the world to cease and ban the development, construction, storage, sale, export and use of weaponized drones; and

AND We strongly urge the UN General Assembly to draft and pass a resolution banning the use and proliferation of weaponized drones throughout the world.

Initiated: February 3, 2022                      


[1] There are no reports of drone attacks against people inside Iran; however, the U.S. drone assassination of Iranian General Quasem Soleimani on Jan. 3, 2020, while he was traveling in Iraq, given his rank and importance to the Iranian state, can reasonably be viewed as an attack on Iran.

PETITION FOR A GLOBAL BAN ON WEAPONIZED DRONES

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After Signing the petition above, you may also want to sign the petition from Roots Action HERE.

We are offering you the opportunity to sign this Roots Action petition because, although it does not go into the detail of the Ban Killer Drones petition that you just signed, it does show a long list of names of people who have signed a petition that expresses the need to ban weaponized drones and organizations that have supported that call.  If you have already signed the Roots Action petition there is no need to do so again. 

We do hope that if you  know others who have signed the Roots Action petition, you will encourage them to sign ours as we hope to take it to the United Nations.

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