The Methodist Conference, meeting in Plymouth, and the United Reformed Church General Assembly, meeting in Scarborough, passed resolutions condemning targeted attacks on individuals by unmanned aerial vehicles – drones – by US forces in Pakistan – a country which it designates as an ally.
Three months of research undertaken by the Bureau of Investigation, including eye witness evidence, found that CIA drone strikes have caused far more deaths in Pakistan than previously understood. Some 175 children are among at least 2,347 people reported killed in US attacks since 2004. There are credible reports of at least 392 civilians among the dead.
During President Obama’s tenure, between 282 and 535 civilians were credibly reported as killed, with more than 60 children. People saw the killing of at least 50 civilians in follow-up strikes, when they had gone to help victims. More than 20 civilians were attacked in deliberate strikes on funerals and mourners. These tactics have been condemned by leading legal experts.
The website also gives figures for civilian killings, drone killings and other ‘covert actions’ in Yemen and Somalia.
Steve Hucklesby, a policy advisor for the Methodist Church told the Conference:
“Terrorists function outside the law. It is vitally important that the UK and its allies do not do so as well. The targeted killings carried out by the CIA in northern Pakistan demonstrate only too clearly the ethical challenges that will face us as this technology proliferates more widely.”
Do any other religious bodies – large or small – condemn these killings? If not, why not?
Information on the churches’ action from the Friend, 13 July 2012