UN report: civilian casualties from drone strikes in Afghanistan Jan – Jun 2013

unamaIt is very rare to get any details of civilian casualties in the war in Afghanistan and even rarer to have information about civilian casualties from drone strikes in Afghanistan.  Today the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) released its mid-year report  Afghanistan: Protection of civilians in armed conflict (pdf).   The report details a 23% increase in civilian casualties over the same period last year.   UNAMA  attributes  74% of civilian deaths and injuries to Anti-Government Elements, 9% to Pro-Government Forces, 12% to ground engagements between Pro-Government Forces and Anti-Government Elements, with the remaining 4% unattributed. Read more

Parliamentary Committee urges Government to ensure controls on drone exports are not weakened

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UK Foreign Secretary William Hague

The UK Parliamentary Committee that oversees arms exports has today published its latest annual report. While the press have rightly focused on the shocking amount of arms exported to human rights abusers, the growing issue of drone proliferation also gets deserved scrutiny in the report.

Last October Drone Wars UK made a submission to the Committee drawing their attention to two specific issues in relation to the proliferation of drones. As the report states (Para 333) “Drone Wars UK raised concerns that the Read more

UK Defence Select Committee announces remit of inquiry into use of drones

Last November we reported that  the UK Defence Select Committee was considering an inquiry into the growing use of drones as part of a wider inquiry leading up to the Strategic Defence Review.  Today, the Committee has announced further details in a press release (below).  Drone Wars UK early submission to the inquiry is available here.  More on this soon no doubt. Read more

Review: Killing by Remote Control: The Ethics of an Unmanned Military edited by Bradley Jay Strawser

Killing by Remote Control: Ethics of an Unmanned Military is a new collection of academic essays edited by Bradley Jay Strawser, a philosophy professor at the US Navy Postgraduate School in California.  Strawser, as readers of this blog may remember, was interviewed by The Guardian last year and quoted as saying in relation to unmanned drones: “It’s all upside. There’s no downside. Both ethically and normatively, there’s a tremendous value.”  Famously, Strawser argues that the US has a moral duty to use drones.

Most, but not all, of the authors writing in this collection are coming from a military perspective, either as former serving officers or currently employed within military teaching institutions. As Strawser notes in his introduction “none of the Read more

UK adds another drone to its arsenal

ScanEagleThe UK Ministry of Defence confirmed that it has signed a £30 million deal with Boeing subsidiary Insitu for the ScanEagle drone.

ScanEagle is an unarmed surveillance drone that is to be used in a maritime role by the Royal Navy.  This latest contract makes the sixth type of unmanned drone that UK forces have in their arsenal with all three services –  army, air force and navy – now operating unmanned drones. Read more