The Multilateralist

Breaking: Ban Ki-moon Says Nothing New About Drones

Breaking: Ban Ki-moon Says Nothing New About Drones

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon apparently won applause in Pakistan for his remarks on drones. Several media outlets are running stories suggesting that he opposed all use of armed drones. But what did Ban say exactly? According to this UN account, not much that’s newsworthy:

The Secretary-General said the UN is also working to rise to these challenges, including through the use of new technologies to help in better implementing its mandates and to provide better security for its troops.

“Let me be clear that these new tools, such as unmanned unarmed aerial vehicles, are for information purposes only. They are essentially flying cameras,” he stated.

“But armed unmanned aerial vehicles are a different matter,” he continued. “As I have often and consistently said, the use of armed drones, like any other weapon, should be subject to long-standing rules of international law, including international humanitarian law.

“This is the very clear position of the United Nations. Every effort should be made to avoid mistakes and civilian casualties.”

To recap: the UN Secretary General informed his audience 1) that the UN will be deploying drones only for reconnaissance purposes; and 2) that countries using armed drones must do so in accordance with international law.