The UN Special Rapporteur Christof Heyns delivered this report to the sixty-eighth general assembly on September 13, 2013. The report is related to the UN's agenda for promotion and protection of human rights, and focuses on the use of lethal force through armed drones.
This report, along with the report of the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and countering terrorism, will be debated at the UN General Assembly on October 25, 2013.
In the present report, the Special Rapporteur focuses on the use of lethal force through armed drones from the perspective of protection of the right to life. Although drones are not illegal weapons, they can make it easier for States to deploy deadly and targeted force on the territories of other States. As such, they risk undermining the protection of life in the immediate and longer terms. If the right to life is to be secured, it is imperative that the limitations posed by international law on the use of force are not weakened by br oad justifications of drone strikes. The Special Rapporteur examines the ways in which the constitutive regimes of international law, including international human rights law, international humanitarian law and the law on the inter-State use of force, regulate the use of armed drones. He reiterates that these legal regimes consti tute an interconnected and holistic system and emphasizes the distinctive role of each in protecting the right to life. He cautions against wide and permissive interpretations of their rules and standards and underlines the centrality of transparency and accountability obligations.