U.N. keeping tabs on U.S. drone policy

June 10, 2013 at 11:50 AM
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UNITED NATIONS, June 10 (UPI) -- The U.S. government is encouraged to put more of its counter-terrorism policies before the public's eye, the U.N. special envoy on human rights said.

President Obama told the National Defense University last month he would add transparency measures to a program using drones against terrorist targets overseas. U.N. envoy on counter-terrorism and human rights Ben Emmerson briefed reporters on his findings following a weeklong visit with Washington officials.

"It is to be welcomed as a significant step towards greater transparency and accountability; and as a declaration that the U.S. war with al-Qaida and its associated forces is coming to an end," Emmerson said last week.

Emmerson, a British lawyer, told The Guardian newspaper last week he came away from his meetings with a sense the use of armed unmanned aircraft would diminish as U.S. forces pull out of Afghanistan next year.

He said U.S. lawmakers were called on to stand behind Obama as his evolving national security priorities change. For the public, Emmerson said he was "confident" more information about drone strikes could be put into the public domain.

"I will be engaging with the administration over the coming months in an effort to further narrow the transparency gap," he said in a statement.

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