Van Bommel: Netherlands must speak out against drones

22 April 2014

Van Bommel: Netherlands must speak out against drones

SP Member of Parliament Harry Van Bommel is urging Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans to use next week’s visit to the United States to speak out against the American policy on drones. ‘In recent years human rights groups and other organisations have published report after report demonstrating that US drone attacks regularly break international law,’ says Van Bommel. ‘It would be quite remarkable therefore if the minister were to say nothing about this matter during his visit to the United States.’

Harry van BommelThe United States has in recent years perpetrated many hundreds of attacks using uncrewed aircraft or drones, attacks which have taken the lives of thousands of people without any form of trial. The drone attacks have been carried out in a number of countries, principally Yemen, Pakistan and Somalia, countries with which the US is not at war. In the last few days a number of attacks in Yemen have cost dozens more people their lives. It cannot be ruled out that in sharing intelligence with the US authorities the Netherlands is contributing to these drone attacks. Tomorrow, Parliament will debate the issues surrounding drones.

‘In my view the minister must take the opportunity of his trip to the United States to bring up three issues,’ says Van Bommel. ‘He should call for more openness when it comes to the American attacks, so that it can be judged whether the deployment of drones is in line with international law. He should also express concerns about possible transgression of international law. And lastly we should have some clarification regarding the question of whether the intelligence shared by the Netherlands has also been used for drone attacks. The minister has made repeated criticisms in relation to drone attacks, but I expect deeds to follow such words.’

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