Details of a US-initiated proposed control agreement on the export and use of armed drones have been announced. The Joint Declaration on the Export and Subsequent Use of Armed or Strike-Enabled Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), signed by 48 nations including the UK, sets out very briefly – on less than one side of paper – five broad principles to be adhered to in relation to the export and use of armed drones. According to an accompanying Fact Sheet issued by the US State Department, The “will serve as a basis for discussions on a more detailed set of international standards… which the United States and its partners will convene in spring 2017.”
As has been very clear over the past decade, there are serious disagreements between the US and the international community as well as international law experts as to how aspects of the growing use of armed drones adheres to international law. As Rachel Stohl of the Stimson Center argues, with such a broad-brush approach, many are worried that the declaration not only provides “a blank check” for future use and export of drones, but that it also serves to effectively legitimize past US drone use.
Read the full article here.