Airplane and drone attacks must avoid killing civilians, UN envoy warns

By United Nations
By United Nations

8/18/2011 5:08:57 PM -

A senior United Nations official today called on all international forces to redouble their efforts to avoid killing civilians, particularly women and children in air attacks, including by unmanned drones.

“Though we have consistently received reassurance that standard operating procedures exist to minimize civilian casualties in air operations, I still receive reports and allegations of casualties involving women and children,” Radhika Coomaraswamy, the Secretary-General's Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, said in a statement, voicing deep concern at the number of civilians killed in such attacks in various conflicts around the world.

She urged all international forces to redouble their efforts and planning to ensure that such casualties do not take place, stressing the need to protect women and children.

Since the World Summit for Children in 1990, the UN has increasingly sought to draw international attention to the horrendous plight of children affected by armed conflict. In 1996 it created the office of the Special Representative to serve as a moral voice and independent advocate for the protection and well-being of boys and girls affected by this scourge.

The Special Representative works with partners to propose ideas and approaches to enhance the protection of children in armed conflict and to build awareness and give prominence to their rights.