U.N. watchdog urges Obama to review deadly drone policy

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 27, 2014 8:38 AM

By Stephanie Nebehay

GENEVA (Reuters) - A U.N. human rights watchdog called on the Obama administration on Thursday to review its use of drones to kill suspected al-Qaeda and Taliban militants abroad and reveal how it chose its targets.

In its first report on Washington's rights record since 2006, it also called for the prosecution of anyone who ordered or carried out killings, abductions and torture under a CIA program at the time of President George W. Bush, and to keep a promise to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay.

U.S. officials did not immediately comment on the report by the U.N. Human Rights Committee, which is made up of 18 independent experts.

The Obama administration drastically increased the number of drone strikes after taking office in 2009 but attacks have dropped off in the last year. It has been been under heavy pressure from affected governments, the United Nations and activists to do more to protect civilians.

The United States should give more information on how it decided someone was enough of an "imminent threat" to be targeted in covert operations in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen and Somalia and other countries, the report said.

It should "revisit its position regarding legal justifications for the use of deadly force through drone attacks," investigate any abuses and compensate victims' families, the committee added in its conclusions.

(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Andrew Heavens)