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UN urges US to give clear drone report

U S  DRONE attack

The United Nations has called on the United States to become transparent about the number of civilians who have been killed by its drone strikes.

"The single greatest obstacle to an evaluation of the civilian impact of drone strikes is lack of transparency, which makes it extremely difficult to assess claims of precision targeting objectively," said a 22-page UN expert report, which was released Friday.

The lack of transparency "creates an accountability vacuum and affects the ability of victims to seek redress," the report noted.

The CIA’s involvement in US drone attacks in Pakistan and Yemen "has created an almost insurmountable obstacle to transparency," it added.

The report called on the US to declassify data about operations coordinated by the CIA and elucidate its position on the legality of the drone operations.

According to UN Special Rapporteur Ben Emmerson, the preliminary information collected for a new report showed over 450 civilians have been killed so far by drone strikes in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Yemen, yet more work has to be done to confirm the figures.

Emmerson said the US cannot use national security considerations in order to justify its refusal to release civilian casualty data.

He also said that Pakistan’s foreign ministry has records of as many as 330 drone strikes carried out in the country’s north-western tribal areas since 2004.

About 2,200 people have been killed there of whom at least 400 were civilians, according to the Pakistani government.

Emmerson’s report also shows more than 30 civilians were killed in Afghanistan in 2012 and 2013 and according to media reports, at least 21 civilians were killed in strikes in Yemen in 2011.