Australia

ICV Press Release: Australians Killed by US Drones

“The state-sanctioned murder of Australian citizens at the hand of the US’s drone program is nothing short of a program of control by terror. These are despicable acts and the Australian Government’s lax approach to these illegal killings is worrying.”

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Islamic Council of Victoria Press Release

Australians Killed by US Drones

Thursday, April 24 2014

News of two Australian Muslims being killed by US drones in Yemen in November 2013 brings to the forefront the very troubling issue of ongoing illegal drone attacks in Yemen, Pakistan and elsewhere. The two men included a man from Townsville, QLD and an unnamed dual Australian-New Zealand national.

Drones are operated by pilots sitting at home base in the United States who never come face to face with the people they strike. These attacks from afar strip their targets of their right to a fair trial, instead illegally killing them on the basis of suspicion alone. In spite of assertions by the US government and military of the precision of drone strikes, evidence illustrates that these attacks have often resulted in the killing of the innocent, including women and children. Even when such strikes are precise, investigations have revealed that the Obama administration had defined ‘combatants’ as any male aged 18-65 killed by a drone, regardless of whether they might be involved in terrorism or not.

The secrecy surrounding the use of drone attacks is of considerable concern, resulting in a lack of transparency around the numbers of people killed in these attacks. This unjustifiable lack of accountability means that neither drone pilots nor their commanders are held responsible for the lives destroyed by their actions. The use of drones is in breach of international law, including international human rights and humanitarian law as expressed repeatedly by numerous human rights groups, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.

The ICV is deeply concerned by the United States’ persistent and reckless use of drones to kill people without fair trial. Significantly more troubling is the lack of concern displayed by the Australian government considering that two of its citizens have been killed vigilante-style by a foreign country. In the absence of further clarification, the ICV must ask whether the same disinterest would have been shown, had the two men been other than Muslim. The ICV demands an explanation from the Australian government for its official silence and lack of interest in the killing of these two men.

ICV spokesperson Mohamad Tabbaa stated, “The state-sanctioned murder of Australian citizens at the hand of the US’s drone program is nothing short of a program of control by terror. These are despicable acts and the Australian Government’s lax approach to these illegal killings is worrying. The ICV will be requesting meetings with appropriate personnel to press on the Australian Government to make appropriate representation on this issue. We pray for the victims of these cruel attacks.”

ICV spokesperson – Mohamad Tabbaa | mohamad.tabbaa@icv.org.au

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Media Enquiries: Bahriye Bol, ICV Communications Officer M 0432 572 163 bahriye.bol@icv.org.au

The Islamic Council of Victoria (ICV) is the peak body for Muslim organisations in Victoria. The ICV represents more than 150,000 Victorian Muslims, through its 47 member organisations located throughout metropolitan Melbourne and rural Victoria. Visit: http://www.icv.org.au

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