The World Council of Churches (WCC) Executive Committee has condemned the use of drones or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) saying that they pose “serious threats to humanity” and the “right to life” while setting “dangerous precedents in inter-state relations”.
These concerns were expressed by the WCC in a statement issued by its Executive Committee on 12 February, when the committee was meeting in Bossey, Switzerland.
The statement adds that UAV technology is permitting countries like the “United States of America, Israel, Russia and the United Kingdom, to move towards systems that would give full combat autonomy to machines.”
The statement calls governments to “respect and recognize the duty to protect the right to life of their subjects and oppose the violation of human rights”.
“The use of UAVs, first made operational in the Balkans war, has subsequently escalated in Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, and Somalia and most recently in Pakistan.”
The statement calls the international community to “oppose the unlawful policies and practices, particularly of US drone strikes in Pakistan”.
The statement urges the “US government to ensure justice for victims of unlawful drone strikes, including family members of the victims of unlawful killings” and to provide effective access to remedies, especially restitution, compensation to families of civilians killed or injured and adequate protection for their rehabilitation.