The use of unmanned drones to launch so-called ‘risk free’ attacks in remote areas of the world has rocketed over the past decade. While manufacturers and operators insist that drones are precise and pinpoint accurate, researchers have documented hundreds of civilian deaths in drone strikes – and there are likely to be many more.
Drones are portrayed as giving us the ability to easily and cleanly take out the bad guys without any risks. Technology, we are told, can control the chaos of war. The reality is that armed drones make it much easier for governments to opt to use lethal military force rather than engage in diplomatic or political solutions to crisis. Over the past few years we have see that drones have enabled the US in particular to massively expand its targeted killing programme. Drones, in short, are simply making war more likely.
End the Secrecy
Echoing the calls of senior UN official who continue to investigate the use of armed drones, we are calling for much greater transparency from the UK government on its use of armed drones. In particular the details of UK drone strikes in Afghanistan need to be released in order to assess the impact of these new weapons systems on the ground.
- Ask your MP to call on the Government to release details of the use of armed drones.
Download a draft letter here. Please let us have a copy of any reply.
Stop Drone Proliferation
Armed drones are rapidly becoming the ‘must have’ weapon of today and there is increasing pressure from drone companies and lobbyists to ‘relax’ international controls (See Drone Proliferation) for more details. Drone Wars UK has been urging the UK Government not to allow the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), which controls the proliferation of armed drones, to be weakened and we have urged the UK to ensure that proper controls are in place to prevent the proliferation of armed drones.
- Read: Submission from Drone Wars UK leads parliamentary committee to urge government to ensure international controls on drone exports are not weakened
An end to the use of armed drones
Ultimately we are seeking an end to the use of armed drones. Far from increasing security, the use of armed drones is undermining long-term counter-terrorism efforts and making the world a much less safe place.