Thursday, October 29, 2015

Britain uses drones in Syria illegally on British citizens

The British Parliament's Human Rights Committee has asked Prime Minister David Cameron to clarify its policy on drone strikes through a formal inquiry. Specifically, the inquiry will focus on the strikes on Raqqa, Syria in August, which killed 3 people, 2 of them British citizens. Reyaad Khan, a native of Cardiff, England, was featured in a prominent ISIS  recruiting video. Prime Minister Cameron has asserted that the strike was an act of self defense.

Specifically, the committee will focus on the legality of the strike. Under Article 51 of the UN Charter, the British government claims it can attack and strike these British citizens under self defense. This is the same defense the US government claimed when it killed American citizen Anwar Al-Awlaki in 2011. However, the Prime Minister is claiming self-defense when there was no formal declaration of war from ISIS against the United Kingdom.

In addition, the British government's formal policy is to use drone strikes in international conflicts they are involved in, such as Iraq and Afghanistan. Many MP's are also upset because Parliament previously voted against the use of force in Syria a few years earlier.

As the legal director of the human rights group "Reprieve" said, "The Prime Minister has given himself sweeping power to kill anyone, anywhere in the world, in secret and without due process. This is a huge shift in British policy and the public deserves to know how far these powers go and what, if any, safeguards are in place."

Although not expressly written in any laws, the Prime Minister should be restricted to the use of drones. The Prime Minister had no authority to authorize the use of force or declare war in an area that he didn't get express approval for. In addition, as British citizens, the victims had a right to due process as well.

No comments: