The 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) will start in September 2018. During the First Committee meeting, all relevant disarmament topics will be discussed by UN Member States. In the past years, the subject of armed drones and their detrimental impact on civilians, communities, and international law, has been raised by numerous states and by civil society during their statements at First Committee meetings.
In 2017, the UN Institute for Disarmament Research analysed the issues surrounding the use of drones, and came to the conclusion that transparency, accountability, and oversight at the multilateral level had to be improved and called for a “United Nations General Assembly resolution that highlights both use and proliferation concerns about armed UAV policies and practices, and establishes a mandate for the development of standards in order to improve the transparency, oversight and accountability of armed UAVs in all their aspects”.
]This year, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres highlighted the issues surrounding drones too, stating: “Armed drones challenge longstanding interpretations of international law. We need common standards on transparency, accountability and oversight.”
To move beyond only the condemnation of the use of drones, the development of effective international policy is crucial. To this end, civil society groups are pushing for multilateral dialogue on the use of armed drones at this years UNGA. To help inform this debate, EFAD Members Reaching Critical Will and Article36 have compiled a chapter for the annual First Committee Briefing Book on the problems surrounding the use of drones, and provided recommended steps states can take to address these issues, such as the strengthening of norms, increasing transparency, and the development of robust international policies. You can read the chapter on drones here.