Amnesty International – a nongovernment organization (NGO) which campaigns for human rights and other matters – has warned that the UK could be violating international law as a result of its involvement in the US’ lethal drone program, according to an investigation by the group.
“The UK’s approach, therefore, seems to be one which grants a wide margin of discretion to the US government, despite the extremely problematic nature of the US drone program and the legal basis (or lack thereof) under which it is conducted,” the report warns.
“Amnesty International is, therefore, of the view that the UK is providing significant assistance to the USA in the knowledge that this could assist potentially unlawful drone strikes.”
The report, titled Deadly Assistance: The Role of European States in US Drone Strikes, was published by the NGO on Thursday and will be presented to a parliamentary inquiry looking into the use of drones by the UK on April 23.
Additionally, the UK’s intelligence and security agency, Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), is sharing intelligence with the US to assist it with its lethal drone program in the Middle East and Africa, according to the NGO’s UK director.
“What we don’t know is how often is British intelligence being weaponized by the USA’s secretive drones program, what are the rules and is the legality of the strikes ever questioned. We need a full public inquiry into the UK’s shadowy role in drone attacks by the USA,” Amnesty International UK’s Director, Kate Allen, said.
US drone strikes have been carried out in Somalia, Pakistan, Syria and Yemen, killing up to 1,551 civilians, according to estimates. Other European nations are also potentially violating international law as a result of their involvement in US drone strikes.
Amnesty International said a summarized version of its findings were sent to the governments of the UK, Germany, the Netherlands and Italy. Only Germany and the Netherlands responded.