Parliamentary Human Rights Committee release report into drones and targeted killing

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The Joint Human Rights Committee have today released their report into the use of armed drones for targeted killing.  While the drone strike that targeted and killed 21-year-old British citizen Reyaad Khan last August was in many ways the trigger for the inquiry, the Committee chose to focus on the wider legal issues around the policy of targeted killing itself, rather than that specific operation.

In an initial assessment of the report there are three points to be made:

1. Important recommendations

While Drone Wars UK would not agree with some of the general conclusions reached, the Committee makes strong and important calls on the Government to clarify its often confusing and apparently contradictory position on legal issues related to the use of armed drones outside conventional armed conflicts.  In particular it urges the government to clarify: Read more

Fallon to face questions on drone targeted killing – but will there be answers?

Secretary of State for Defence, Michael Fallon

UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon will face questions from the Human Rights Select Committee on Wednesday (16 Dec) over the targeted killing of two British men in a UK drone strike.  21-year old Reyaad Khan from Cardiff was killed in the strike in Syria on 21 August 2015 alongside 26-year old Ruhul Amin from Aberdeen and an unknown third man.

As the Prime Minster acknowledged in his statement to the House of Commons,the air strike was a significant departure from previous military operations: Read more

British drones and targeted killing: UK follows the lead of the US and Israel

David Cameron announcing drone targeted killing of Reyaard Khan
David Cameron announcing drone targeted killing of Reyaard Khan

Yesterday’s statement from Prime Minister David Cameron that a British drone had targeted and killed a 21 year-old British citizen, Reyaad Khan, outside a situation of armed conflict after he had been put on what amounts to a kill list months earlier is shocking.  Time and again in response to questions about the UK’s drone programme British ministers, defence officials and military officers have distanced themselves from the type of targeted killing undertaken by US drones outside a situation of formal conflict.  ‘It’s something we wouldn’t do’ has been the mantra. Read more

Briton killed by targeted British drone strike

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Reyaad Khan

In a shocking statement made in the House of Commons this afternoon Prime Minster David Cameron announced that for the first time a British citizen, Reyaad Khan, has been targeted for assassination by a British drone.  A second Briton, Ruhul Amin and a third unknown man were also killed in the strike. Cameron told the House:

Today I can inform the House that in an act of self-defence and after meticulous planning Reyaad Khan was killed in a precision air strike carried out on 21st August by an RAF remotely piloted aircraft while he was travelling in a vehicle in the area of Raqqah in Syria.

In addition to Reyaad Khan who was the target of the strike, two ISIL associates were also killed, one of whom – Ruhul Amin, has been identified as a UK national. They were ISIL fighters and I can confirm there were no civilian casualties.

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