This policy reviews the existing monitoring systems of civilian casualty via drone strike within the UK and the US. There are three main lobbying objectives that this project group will be pursuing this semester: (1) launching an inquiry modeled after the Obama Executive Order on the matter, (2) establishing a third party review monitoring system, and (3) reviewing the monitoring sources according to pre-established criteria.
The protection of civilians during times of conflict is a concept that has been engrained in international lawsince 1859, when Henry Dunant founded the Red Cross and set about creating the Geneva Conventions1. However, researchers at the Al-Marsad Center have argued that these principles regarding civilian protection have been compromised as the recent “war on terror” has led to, not only an increase in civilian deaths, but also a heightened inaccuracy in the reporting of these casualties2. There is a clear disparity between the civilian casualty estimates provided by governments and NGOs/media organisations causing human rights activists such as Chris Woods to stipulate that many civilian deaths and injuries are not acknowledged by the attacking authorities3. This limits the international community’s ability to hold these bodies accountable which is integral for the prevention of future casualties. This project seeks to explore the reasons behind this disparity by assessing the methods through which the United Kingdom reports the civilian casualties incurred by Syrian airstrikes. It will then propose reforms that will enhance the accuracy of the United Kingdom’s civilian’s casualty reporting mechanisms and end the aforementioned disparity.