WASHINGTON: The UN Human Rights Council is not the right forum for discussing drone strikes inside Pakistan, says US State Department.
Pakistan has moved a draft resolution in the world body, seeking greater scrutiny of US drone strikes in Fata and urging the council to determine if the attacks violated human rights.
The resolution also urges member states to ensure transparency in recording the strikes and to “conduct prompt, independent and impartial investigations whenever there are indications of any violations to human rights caused by their use.”
The United States, however, has decided to sit out the talks.
At a State Department news briefing, spokesperson Jen Psaki said it was incorrect to suggest that the US was unwilling to deal with important counter-terrorism issues at the HRC and with its mandate holders.
“We have met with the UN Human Rights Council Special Rapporteur on counter-terrorism at senior levels when he travelled to Washington, and since joining the council we have regularly participated in negotiations on resolutions dealing with the need to protect human rights while countering terrorism,” she said.
The US official, however, noted that this had not been a traditional focus area for the HRC, in part for reasons of expertise.
“We do not see how refinements to the text can address this core concern. We know others may have different perspectives, and we, of course, respect their right to do so,” Ms Psaki said.
The Pakistani resolution also sought “an interactive panel discussion” on the use of drones. The Human Rights Council held its third round of discussions about the draft on Wednesday, but the Obama administration boycotted the talks.
The White House’s decision to sit out the negotiations was a departure from the collaborative approach the administration promised to take when it first announced plans to join the Human Rights Council in March 2009.
Last May, President Barack Obama said in a speech that he would curtail the use of drones and did so.