US assassination drone strikes have left at least 21 people dead in Pakistan’s northwestern tribal region near border with Afghanistan during the past 48 hours, Press TV reports.
Pakistani officials told Press TV that nine people were killed after a US drone fired four missiles at two vehicles in Mana area of Shawal district in North Waziristan on Sunday morning.
This is while on Saturday twelve people lost their lives when a US drone targeted a building in the same troubled region.
Washington claims its drone strikes target militants, although casualty figures clearly indicate that Pakistani civilians are the main victims of the assaults.
Despite Pakistani government’s repeated calls on Washington to end the drone attacks, the US government continues its strikes on the tribal regions of the country.
The killing of Pakistani civilians, including women and children, in the US drone strikes has strained relations between Islamabad and Washington, prompting Pakistani officials to send warnings to the US administration over the assaults.
The aerial attacks were initiated by former US President George W. Bush, but have escalated under President Barack Obama.
Pakistanis have held many demonstrations to condemn the United States’ violations of their country’s sovereignty.
US under pressure over drone raids
There are now a large number of lawsuits, in different parts of the world, including in the UK, Pakistan and in the US itself, through which pressure for investigation and accountability is building.”
UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and and Counter-Terrorism Ben Emmerson
UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Counter-Terrorism Ben Emmerson said on Sunday that the US is coming under mounting global pressure over its use of assassination drones, adding that he is preparing a report on the issue for the next session of the Human Rights Council in March.
Emmerson also urged Washington to open itself to an independent probe into the legality of such attacks that will “remain at the top of the UN political agenda until some consensus and transparency has been achieved.”
“We can’t make a decision on whether it is lawful or unlawful if we do not have the data. The recommendation I have made is that users of targeted killing technology should be required to subject themselves, in the case of each and every death, to impartial investigation. If they do not establish a mechanism to do so, it will be my recommendation that the UN should put the mechanisms in place through the Human Rights Council, the General Assembly and the Office of the High Commissioner,” he said.
Emmerson also lashed out at the US President Barack Obama Administration for “the position that it will neither confirm nor deny the existence of the drone program, whilst allowing senior officials to give public justifications of its supposed legality in personal lectures and interviews.”
Emmerson said a large number of lawsuits have been filed against the US government in different parts of the world over such attacks with the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and the American Civil Liberties Union being among the institutions that have launched legal actions.
“There are now a large number of lawsuits, in different parts of the world, including in the UK, Pakistan and in the US itself, through which pressure for investigation and accountability is building,” Emmerson said.
CCR says an estimated 2,500 people have been killed in drone strikes since Obama came to power in January 2009.
The US uses drones for combat and espionage missions in several countries including Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The US claims the pilotless aircraft target militants but many of the victims turn out to be civilians.
The aerial attacks were initiated by former US President George W. Bush, but have escalated under Obama.
Pakistan in particular has objected to the US assassination drone attacks on its territory, arguing that the strikes violate its sovereignty.