UN passes resolution on drone strikes after pressure from Pakistan

Published: December 19, 2013
UN passes resolution against drone strikes unanimously. PHOTO: AFP

UN passes resolution against drone strikes unanimously. PHOTO: AFP

UNITED NATIONS: The United Nations on Thursday unanimously passed a resolution against US drone campaign in foreign territories, Express News reported.

Pakistan has been a vocal opponent of the strikes conducted with the help of unmanned aircraft in the country’s tribal areas and had raised the issue at the UN General Assembly.

The assembly adopted the resolution calling on US, who use drone strikes as a counter-terrorism measure, to comply with international law as the 193-member body acted on a range of issues relating mainly to human rights.

The unanimous call for regulating the use of remotely piloted aircraft against suspected terrorists was contained in a comprehensive 28-paragraph resolution, entitled “Protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism.” The portion about drone strikes was included as a result of intensive efforts made by the Pakistan delegation.

In this regard, the Assembly underscored the “urgent and imperative” need for an agreement among member states on legal questions about drone operations.

The resolution urged US to ensure that any measures taken or means employed to counter-terrorism, including the use of remotely piloted aircraft, complied with international law. This includes Charter of the United Nations, human rights law and international humanitarian law.

The text also calls for taking into account relevant UN resolutions and decisions on human rights and giving due consideration to recommendations of special procedures and mechanisms of the Human Rights Council, and relevant comments and views of UN human rights treaty bodies.

It also takes note of the report of Special Rapporteur Ben Emersson which refers, inter alia, to the use of drones, and notes the recommendations, including the urgent and imperative need to seek agreement among Member States on legal questions pertaining to remotely piloted aircraft operations.

US is also urged to undertake prompt, independent and impartial fact-finding inquiries whenever there are plausible indications of possible breaches to their obligations under international human rights law with a view to ensuring accountability, while countering terrorism by the resolution.

End drone strikes

On October 25, Pakistan had renewed demands for an end to US drone strikes on its territory.

“In Pakistan, all drone strikes are a chilling reminder that reprisal strikes by terrorists are around the corner,” Pakistan’s UN ambassador Masood Khan had told a UN General Assembly rights committee debate.

Khan had said civilians suffered “inhumane” deaths and the strikes had “radicalised” public opinion in Pakistan.

“We call for the immediate cessation of drone attacks inside the territorial borders of Pakistan,” Khan had stated.

Washington trip

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on October 22 had called for the United States to end drone strikes, saying they violated his country’s territorial integrity, and were a “major irritant” in relations between the two countries.

Nawaz further added that the attacks posed a “major” impediment to relations with the United States.


The London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism in October had put the total death toll since the campaign began in Pakistan in 2004 at between 2,525 and 3,613.

The Bureau stated that between 407 and 926 of those killed were civilians – 16 to 25 percent of the total.

UN special rapporteur Ben Emmerson had also said in a written report that Pakistan had told him that 400 of the 2,200 victims of drone attacks over the past decade – 18 percent – were civilians.

The drone programme, which began under president George W Bush, accelerated significantly after Barack Obama came to power but has tailed off noticeably in the past year.

People killed per strike in Pakistan


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Reader Comments (87)

  • rizkhan
    Dec 19, 2013 - 10:21AM

    All the credit goes to PTI. Great work King Khan.


  • Talking Point
    Dec 19, 2013 - 10:22AM

    If drone srikes are illegal , just ban all armed drones manufacturing and operations anywhere in the world just like WMD are banned.Illogical to continue with manufacturing facilities for armed drones yet ban drone strikes.


  • rahzamtakuahs
    Dec 19, 2013 - 10:23AM

    The dollars-fed media houses will mourn this news.


  • Saad
    Dec 19, 2013 - 10:24AM

    Success? Yay !Recommend

  • Realist
    Dec 19, 2013 - 10:27AM

    As if USA gives a damn. USA! USA! USA!


  • Usman
    Dec 19, 2013 - 10:30AM

    Only one politician in Pakistan made cessation of drone strikes a key policy point, Imran Khan. Well done, finally some recognition.


  • fz
    Dec 19, 2013 - 10:32AM

    honestly did not read the article instead heading only, but shame on dollar worshiper in the media


  • truth
    Dec 19, 2013 - 10:33AM

    All the Dharna haters ..plz get a life now..IK rocks…


  • Kaleem Khan
    Dec 19, 2013 - 10:40AM

    Let’s see how the ‘chaudhry’ of this world aka USA act now?


  • Nikki
    Dec 19, 2013 - 10:41AM

    1-Does USA cares about UNO’s resolution?
    2-The figures of casualties are higher .,Interior minister’s numbers were less and misreported in the Parliament. Whom should we trust?


  • Noman
    Dec 19, 2013 - 10:43AM

    Bad news for Pakistani liberal fascists. #PPP, #MQM, #ANP etc..


  • AS
    Dec 19, 2013 - 10:52AM

    God bless you Nawaz Sherif
    plz keep fighting for restoring dignity of pakistan
    Sir IK plz concentrate on KPK you are losing time very fast.


  • ironMan!
    Dec 19, 2013 - 11:00AM

    Ahh so from this is where Ch. Nisar got the 400 civilian deaths count; a win-win situation for both. Report only 400 civilian deaths, and resolution will pass in UN. Nonetheless, lets see who respects the resolution; till then congratulations Pakistan (finger crossed) .


  • AliKuliKhan
    Dec 19, 2013 - 11:06AM

    The collateral damage in a war against terrorists is not a very big price to pay. Any other weapon would have caused much more widespread destruction.


  • Ali
    Dec 19, 2013 - 11:12AM

    Should I say thank you to Nawaz or to Imran Khan?Recommend

  • Dec 19, 2013 - 11:24AM

    It’s United Nations General Assembly. Their resolutions don’t matter! It’s the United Nations Security Council whose verdict on issues of international security can make a difference.


  • Farooq
    Dec 19, 2013 - 11:25AM

    I remember your last comment. You said you live in europe. May be that is why you are too worried about US reaction. Maybe US might kick you out of Europe back to Pakistan, US is no more of a super power now, Russia is. Check out the top 10 most powerful persons on google. You will know.
    US is not your master, it is when you bow too much that they rule over you.Recommend

  • numbersnumbers
    Dec 19, 2013 - 11:26AM

    @Talking Point:
    Better yet, just ban any country from providing “safe havens” and training camps for known terrorist organizations!


  • Someone
    Dec 19, 2013 - 11:35AM

    OMG!. The UN has become pro-Taliban? Ouch! What will happen to the Indians and the desi liberals?


  • Someone
    Dec 19, 2013 - 11:36AM

    @Realist: As if USA gives a damn. USA! USA! USA!

    You worry about your female diplomats who are strip-searched by Americans.


  • iqra riaz
    Dec 19, 2013 - 11:38AM

    Its good but action speaks louder than words.
    At least govt is doing something


    Dec 19, 2013 - 11:44AM

    Thanks US.. now Pakistan is a safe-heaven for “TERRORIST” good work IK & NS.


  • Zulfiqar Baig
    Dec 19, 2013 - 11:45AM

    Thank you Imran Khan for your courageous effort highlighting this inhuman act of USA to international media…Thanks all PTI supporters and those who supported this cause.


  • Bala krishnan
    Dec 19, 2013 - 11:45AM

    Dont expect america to respect un resolution. They think us is the world police man. Expect next drone at any time.
    In a sense pak must be happy for us drone compagine as the terrorists are eliminating by us and pak need not bear any cost in this war instead gaining a lot of $ for facilitating drone war secretly.


  • Faisal
    Dec 19, 2013 - 11:46AM

    Great news ! What is surprising is that there is no mention of PTI or IK here – who spearheaded the anti-drone movement. ET why so anti PTI ???


  • 22222
    Dec 19, 2013 - 11:53AM

    Won’t make any difference on the ground. Drone strikes will continue and even be expanded. Future drones will be cheaper and more autonomous and powerful than anything we’ve seen yet. They will hover over every nook and cranny in the world that the US and its allies see as a threat. That includes our cities, towns, public and private properties.


  • Farooq
    Dec 19, 2013 - 11:54AM

    What an amazing reply. Commendable. For the last decade they labeled Imran Khan as Taliban Khan. Now is the time we ask them to label UN as Pro-TTP UN.
    Indians please comment on your websites and leave us alone.Recommend

  • keen observer
    Dec 19, 2013 - 11:56AM

    LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Whatdid nawaz do please enlighten??
    idiot. when Imran Khan chants his anti-drone slogans then you people make fun of him and when there’s a small victory regarding that you come on wagging on your tongues taking credit for something that’s NOT YOUR VICTORY.Recommend

  • Ahmed
    Dec 19, 2013 - 11:58AM

    Don’t just read the headline and celebrate, headline is misleading. UN has not banned drone strikes. UN assembly has passed a resolution for the drone strikes to simply comply with the international law. The resolution states

    “to ensure that any measures taken or means employed to counter terrorism, including the use of remotely piloted aircraft, comply with their obligations under international law, including the Charter of the United Nations, human rights law and international humanitarian law, in particular the principles of distinction and proportionality”.

    “states while countering terrorism to undertake prompt, independent and impartial fact-finding inquiries whenever there are plausible indications of possible breaches to their obligations under international human rights law, with a view to ensuring accountability.”

    The resolution while a step in the right direction is ambiguous at best. US will claim it carries proper fact-finding inquiries before launching a strike. No need to celebrate PTI supporters.


  • Please report correctly
    Dec 19, 2013 - 12:02PM

    Please stop misreporting ET. The resolution “calls for States using drone strikes as a counter terrorism measure to comply with international law”. It’s not against drone strikes but calls for regulating their usage to minimise human rights violations.
    Fuel to the troll fire by your reporting ET.


  • Mogambo
    Dec 19, 2013 - 12:13PM

    Please don’t worry about IK. He is gaining ground in KPK. Another seat won by PTI in DI khan few days back. However, Nawaz is losing ground and prices rising, Punjab ministers not performing, Nawaz has recently assigned another committee to control the currect ministers. But still, in spite of that, I would appreciate Nawaz for the effort he has done to stop Drones.Recommend

  • Insafian
    Dec 19, 2013 - 12:20PM

    We are not celebrating as yet. It is just a positive step from UN. And since you sound intellectual you must be knowing what does ‘complying with the international law’ mean. IT MEANS YOU DONT HAVE THE AUTHORITY TO ENTER ANOTHER SOVEREIGN COUNTRY’S AIR SPACE WITHOUT ITS PERMISSION. Is it to hard to understand that. I think not!Recommend

  • nikki_2501@yahoo.com
    Dec 19, 2013 - 12:32PM

    Dear Farooq,
    Pleas read the same link:
    I didnt mention about my nationality or whereabout.
    I am not pro-America or anti-IK, however, as student of IR and Politics I know the power factor always prevails. moreover, America is not going to collapes by the way,this year I visited this country, the people of America do not think the we think emotionally.


  • Syed Aoun Naqvi
    Dec 19, 2013 - 12:32PM

    It’s purely IK’s success


  • nikki_2501@yahoo.com
    Dec 19, 2013 - 12:36PM

    Over excitment by my country fellow:)
    Its resolution not an order to stop drone, I wish it should be stopped but who will give us guarantee that terrorists are not hiding in that area?


  • Ahmed
    Dec 19, 2013 - 12:44PM

    has always been in place. You don’t need a UN resolution to assert that! So this resolution does not imply much at all! You are requested to please not write in capital.


  • amoghavarsha.ii
    Dec 19, 2013 - 1:15PM

    ” The resolution adopted today urges the member states to ensure that any measure taken or means employed to counter terrorism, including the use of drones, comply with their obligations under international law, including the UN Charter, human rights law and international humanitarian law, in particular the principles of distinction and proportionality “

    NOW WHAT DOES Int. LAW say !!!

    NOW I think ball in Pak. Govt Court to tell the world whether war on terror is complying with respect to Int. Law.


  • rasgullah
    Dec 19, 2013 - 1:42PM

    The same UN also passed a resolution few years back asking its member states not to allow extremists to flourish in areas under its control.


  • Muhammad
    Dec 19, 2013 - 1:43PM

    Not against drones but a regulatory one, Taliban lovers should not be thrilled!


  • Clarus
    Dec 19, 2013 - 1:55PM

    where does it say strikes will be stopped? they are just making it more systematic.


  • Aam Paki
    Dec 19, 2013 - 2:16PM

    Where ALL parties failed and did NOTHING, PTI prevailed, All hail to PTI, well done for all of your effort!! its a win-win for Pakistan.


  • tanu
    Dec 19, 2013 - 2:32PM

    U N makes it legal so long it complies with the agreements between nations to fight terror? US has been using drones with full knowledge and permission of the Pak government. This has been a stated position of both us and Pakistan. Recommend

  • John the Baptist
    Dec 19, 2013 - 2:34PM

    “Those willing to trade their freedom for security, deserve neither freedom nor security.”

    Benjamin Franklin, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States of America

    “The US will always do the right thing but after exhausting all other possibilities.”

    Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom during WWIIRecommend

  • nikki_2501@yahoo.com
    Dec 19, 2013 - 2:40PM


    You will find all previous issues on this link:



  • Insafain
    Dec 19, 2013 - 2:45PM

    If this resolution does not imply much at all then they should shut down UN as per your understanding. The UN resolution is there to Re-emphasis on the point where International Law is being violated. Some treat UN as it is no good, then why make those decisions to attack a country or not in UN? What is the veto power used for? I wont be using Capitals, you are requested to not write in bold.


  • Realist
    Dec 19, 2013 - 2:55PM


    Eh? Hello, I am not an Indian.


  • Zaka
    Dec 19, 2013 - 2:55PM

    ET come on you have become so low in providing wrong information to the readers. The resolution does not condemn drones at all. The resolution is against overall human right violation in its any form.


  • Shankar
    Dec 19, 2013 - 3:09PM


    The US, absolutely will never act according the UNO’s resolution,she will act accordingly.
    Those are celeberating this resolution are living in fool’s paradise, sorry my Pakistani friends.
    But this the reality.They will be airlifiting their left over from Afghanistan,thus IK’s NATO blockade will also fail.


  • INXS
    Dec 19, 2013 - 3:10PM

    BTW, UN had also declared the Iraq invasion as illegal.


  • nikki_2501@yahoo.com
    Dec 19, 2013 - 3:23PM


    Nobody is any body’s master even USA, today’s states and peopel are making and choosing their master themselves.And beggers are not chooser, you know.


  • FFarooq
    Dec 19, 2013 - 3:27PM

    UN passed resolution as Pakistan Government raised the issue in General council which is the right platform not the Karkhane bazaar. It wont make much difference to USA but PMLN government should be appreciated for their efforts in the right direction and on the right forum.

    Shame for PTI who is already out to take credit of it, telling people that UN took f*king Suo-moto action on their protest in Peshawar. Stop fooling people, Grow up and stop this credit game.


  • nikki_2501@yahoo.com
    Dec 19, 2013 - 3:27PM

    @John the Baptist:
    Well said. Appreciate


  • John
    Dec 19, 2013 - 3:34PM

    the number of casualties due to drone strikes are seriously flawed.
    just one drone strike had killed approximately 60 elementry school children last year and that number does not coincide with the rigged statistics shown above.


  • Patriot
    Dec 19, 2013 - 3:44PM

    Indeed a Success but its application might probably demand resuming NATO supplies.

    Several such resolutions are already there with the general council & they don’t really matter. Kashmir issue etc are the big examples being in there at the general council. This will matter when it comes to the security council.


  • Humayun
    Dec 19, 2013 - 3:50PM

    Hope this resolution does not end up like UN Kashmir resolution and Pakistan National Assembly resolution on Drone Strikes.

    Resolution sounds more like crutches when a country does not has self respect to clearly defend, react and protest beyond mere lip service.

    Appreciate the stance taken by Indian government on US treatment of Indian diplomat Diviyani which sends out a very explicit message


  • Insafian
    Dec 19, 2013 - 3:51PM

    If this resolution does not imply much at all then they should shut down UN as per your understanding. The UN resolution is there to Re-emphasis on the point where International Law is being violated. Some treat UN as it is no good, then why make those decisions to attack a country or not in UN? What is the veto power used for?

    I won’t be using Capitals, you are requested to not write in bold.Recommend

  • Xnain
    Dec 19, 2013 - 4:07PM

    It was diplomacy not dharna that did the Job. Recommend

  • Xnain
    Dec 19, 2013 - 4:10PM

    @Aam Paki:
    And the PTI has representation in UN? Did any diplomatic Lobbying? Anything which makes you believe that this is done by PTI. PTI’s dharna is in its 27th day and doing nothing but hurting their very own province which is predominantly indulged in transportation.


  • Xnain
    Dec 19, 2013 - 4:12PM

    Because PTI didn’t do anything except blocking the roads, the only thing that they are good at


  • Dec 19, 2013 - 4:26PM

    There is a exemplary evidence smeared with human blood
    in the United Nation’s record room,according to which an
    inquiry team was constituted by UN,to prob the matter in
    regard to the weapon of mass destruction in the Iraqi stock pile
    Delegation visited Iraq and saw there was not such weapons.
    The chairman of the delegation reported back but rejected by
    the United States and the United kingdom and invaded Iraq.
    In the same way,
    the resolution passed by the UN.there are chances of rejection
    by the United States.
    No doubt,
    drones commits violation of international law,but on the other
    hand,international law provide the right to all the member states
    that they can defend their country and provide safety to its people
    at any cost..
    The same law imposing ban the same granted permission very strange.


  • powvow
    Dec 19, 2013 - 4:31PM

    Yawn… Beating around the bush by Pakistanis… Instead of directly talking to U.S. and getting these stopped (or shooting one down), they’re talking to UN which is a toothless body as far as stopping U.S. is concerned.

    Fooling everybody by these routine and useless gestures.


  • Imran
    Dec 19, 2013 - 4:52PM

    Is it worth this resolution ? I am sure the resolution was in Waste bin even before everyone left General Assembly.


  • Masood Khan
    Dec 19, 2013 - 4:59PM

    1, UN General Assembly resolutions are of same value as of Pakistan’ National Assembly; means of no value.
    2, Even if resolution is acted upon; then what’s there to celebrate — to celebrate that TTP will have free hand without any fear of drone strikes?


  • Abbasi
    Dec 19, 2013 - 5:05PM

    Another Fullfillment of Mian Sb Commitments… Hats Off Nawaz Sherif


  • Dec 19, 2013 - 5:13PM

    I do not know why the first message disappeared so here it is again. Thanks to Imran Khan’s exceptional courage and persistence the General assembly resolution has passed. Sadly, as many readers have commented, the U.S will continue to ignore this resolution. I have some articles n this subject on my satire site: Grateboard


  • Fahad
    Dec 19, 2013 - 5:29PM

    Yes, you are right. But when IK says to move to the next step (shoot down the drone). The whole anti-IK lobby rises and says that how dare we, we the slaves, we the weak, we the hopeless, we the beggars can lock horns with the all mightly all powerful U.S of A? Can you please advise what can be done next. Thanks.Recommend

  • Dec 19, 2013 - 5:37PM

    International law mean?imposition of American consent
    global law mean?safety of American interests in the world


  • salman
    Dec 19, 2013 - 5:46PM

    Well Done Nawaz Sharif


  • Bakhtiyar Ghazi Khan
    Dec 19, 2013 - 5:51PM

    Great work by Imran Khan. He is quickly becoming the face of Pakistani people. His anti-drone, polio eradicaton, and anti-corruption stances are resonating with people all around the world.


  • Dec 19, 2013 - 5:57PM

    @Zafar Hayat Khan:
    Pls, see back the world history,
    What happened with Iraq,It was attacked despite the fact that there was no weapons of mass destruction in Iraqi stockpile.
    What happened with Afghanistan,they denied the charge that they were involved in 9/11 insurgency but destroyed by using dangerous weapons.
    Resolution is resolution not strictly ban on the single super power.


  • Dec 19, 2013 - 6:06PM

    So sorry khan sahib, I mistakenly understood that as you are talking about the elements recently entered into the PTI corridors.


  • unbelievable
    Dec 19, 2013 - 6:26PM

    The United Nations on Thursday unanimously passed a resolution against US drone campaign in foreign territories, Express News reported.
    So the USA voted for a resolution against US drone strikes? If you believe that I have a bridge to sell you.


  • Ch. Allah Daad
    Dec 19, 2013 - 6:29PM

    Great work PML(N) government. Long live Nawaz Sharif.


  • Dec 19, 2013 - 6:50PM

    I am so happy to hear that General Assembly adopted the resolution to address the international law of on Human Rights over the use of drone today. I would like to express full respect to PM Nawaz Sharif who have urged the president Obama on this critical matter. For economical development, also taking their possible human resourcefulness as well as the fact which overwhelmingly the majoriyty of the nation demand to stop its use, into account, the drone attack must be withdrawn tomorrow ! When I read the US exert the power to attack by drone soil of Pakistan amid the visit of Obama by PM Nawaz Sharif, I got rageous sentiment here in Tokyo ! Next year may various Gods bless Pakistan as well as a country where such news reported to us such as the UK, too !


  • shakir shamim
    Dec 19, 2013 - 6:58PM

    But the real issue how to implement it? I dont see any future of resolution


  • Waqas Tariq
    Dec 19, 2013 - 7:29PM

    Why give credit to Imran Khan only? It was his ex-wife who brought the attention of world media towards this inhuman act.


  • unbelievable
    Dec 19, 2013 - 7:30PM

    Terrible headline – lousy article. Suggest you read the dawn version. http://www.dawn.com/news/1075064/un-calls-for-drone-strikes-to-comply-with-international-law


  • xor
    Dec 19, 2013 - 7:48PM

    PTI kept the pressure on through the help of people, bringing world journalists and peace activists on board to speak against drones. PTI protested different cities in Europe and America. NATO blockage was also strongly making the point. PTI has done what it can possibly do.

    Now question is, will this resolution be remain just piece of paper like all other resolutions on Kashmir and Palestine or are we going to see something concrete?


  • powvow
    Dec 19, 2013 - 8:26PM

    @Fahad – “Can you please advise what can be done next”

    Well my advice would be the same as that of the rest of the world… Either you fix the problem, else let someone else do it…
    If America is droning those beasts, let them do it else you go after them… instead of talking to them as IK suggests. In any case those beasts have threatened him for his polio stance, killed soldiers yesterday by blasting a mosque (and will continue to do so)…

    Going to the U.N. and complaining is just a eyewash to fool the gullible masses and abdicating responsibility.


  • daisy
    Dec 19, 2013 - 8:46PM

    @AS: oh hello, NS did nothing for stopping drones. where do u live, were u sleeping through whole time. amazingly ignorant. only IK and PTI took stand against drones. wake up people.


  • daisy
    Dec 19, 2013 - 8:51PM

    @Ali: if u have to ask, apparently u have no clue what is going on in PK.


  • Sulaiman
    Dec 19, 2013 - 11:42PM

    Bad news for liberals, secularists, indians & worshippers of the west


  • rkfrom ny
    Dec 20, 2013 - 12:16AM

    ..but it is UN not US!! sheesh..!!…and US could not give a damn about stopping drone strikes..!!!!!!


  • numbersnumbers
    Dec 20, 2013 - 2:57AM

    BTW, you say “only IK and PTI took stand against drones”, BUT somehow IK and PTI cannot take stand against TTP(our brothers?) which has slaughtered near 100 times more Pakistanis!
    Ever wonder WHY????


  • Hasan
    Dec 21, 2013 - 2:42PM

    @AS: wat on earth r u on about mate???? Imran khan was the one who emphasized this not nawaz sharif!


  • amanat ali
    Dec 21, 2013 - 8:27PM

    If Pakistan takes strong stand drones attacks will stop. Pakistan is a sovereign country. No country has any right to violate the international law and attack a sovereign country. Pakistan should down any drown which violates its territorial integrity and attack and kill Pakistani citizens.


  • SherAya
    Dec 22, 2013 - 10:37PM

    Despite being a supporter of PMLN, I would like to thank Imran Khan for elevating this problem this high that finally UN had to listen.


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