(WASHINGTON, D.C., 1/24/13) --- The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today welcomed a United Nations inquiry into the impact drone strikes and other targeted killings have on civilians.
CAIR also urged the Obama administration to cooperate with the U.N. inquiry.
The British lawyer heading the investigation said there is a need for "accountability and reparation where things have gone badly wrong" and noted that the "exponential" rise in the use of killer drones requires a legal framework in international law.
The U.N. inquiry will study the impact of drone strikes in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, Palestine, and Somalia and will assess the extent of civilian casualties and the legality of strikes where there is no legal recognition of a conflict. It will report to the U.N. General Assembly later this year.
In a statement responding to news of the U.N. inquiry, CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad said:
"Our government's unrestrained and unaccountable use of killer drones has taken the lives of hundreds of innocent civilians and has generated deep hostility to our nation throughout the world.
"As a world leader, the consequences of our actions are far-reaching. Other nations will follow our lead, whether for good or ill.
"The ever-growing use of drones to kill anyone -- including American citizens - anywhere in the world and for undeclared reasons leaves our nation open to charges that it is violating international laws of war.
"We are particularly concerned about so-called 'double tap' strikes in which first responders are targeted in a follow-up strike and about attacks on religious observances such as funerals. The use of such practices, which were first employed by terrorist groups, could constitute war crimes.
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"More than 50 nations, many of them hostile to America, possess drone technology that could potentially be used to target opponents. Without a legal framework for the use of such weapons of anonymous killing, we leave our own citizens open to being targeted.
"We urge the Obama administration to cooperate with the U.N. inquiry and to provide greater transparency and legal justification for drone killings."
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
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