amendment brok report dronesAn amendment to the European Parliament’s annual report on the EU’s foreign policy called for the EU to advocate a binding UN convention on the use of unmanned drone aircraft for targeted killings.

West Midlands MEP Phil Bennion today repeated this call for a binding international convention on drone strikes and targeted killings:

“The indiscriminate use of drone strikes by the U.S. in countries such as Pakistan, Afghanistan and the Yemen must come to an end.

phillip bennion2“These so-called ‘targeted killings’ are often not very targeted at all, and can end up killing large numbers of civilians, destroying vital infrastructure and crippling the local economy. Far from eliminating terrorism, these strikes play into the hands of Islamic extremists by fostering anti-Western sentiment.

“The CIA who operate many of these aircraft claim that they are not bound by the laws of war. This gap in international law needs to be closed.

“That is why I am calling for a clear and binding international convention on the use of drone strikes for targeted killings. There should be clear rules that ensure such strikes are only used in exceptional circumstances, against high-level targets deemed to be an immediate threat and when there is no risk of civilian casualties.

“It is unfortunate that the Tories and UKIP blocked today’s proposal, but the fact the vote was so close shows that there is strong support in the European Parliament for the EU to take a stand against the use of drone strikes.”

It was rejected by only 3 votes. Perhaps some of the Conservative and UKIP MEPS who blocked EU support for the proposal will change their minds next time this comes before the European Parliament.

Note: The proposal was contained in amendment 11 to the Annual Report from the Council to the European Parliament on the Common Foreign and Security Policy (link to report here) 2013/2081(INI) by Elmar Brok.