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Fri May 3, 2013 7:9AM
Christof Heyns is a South African professor of human rights law and the author of the UN report on the use of fully or semi-autonomous weapons including drones and robots.

Christof Heyns is a South African professor of human rights law and the author of the UN report on the use of fully or semi-autonomous weapons including drones and robots.

The London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism said in a report in February that the United States has carried out more than 360 assassination drone attacks in Pakistan since 2004, killing nearly 3,500 people.
The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) has called for a global freeze on the use of drones as the US killer drone strikes continue to take innocent lives in several countries. The UNHRC report published on May 2 seeks a moratorium on the “testing, production, assembly, transfer, acquisition, deployment and use” of fully or semi-autonomous weapons including drones and robots until an international forum can establish rules for their use. The use of drones violates international law, the report stated. Christof Heyns, a South African professor of human rights law and author of the report, said the United States, the UK and the Israeli regime in particular have developed killer robots dubbed Lethal Autonomous Robotics (LAR) that can attack targets without any human input. “Decisions over life and death in armed conflict may require compassion and intuition. Humans - while they are fallible - at least might possess these qualities, whereas robots definitely do not. [Robots] should not have the power of life and death over human beings,” Heyns stated. The UNHRC report was drafted after strong protests by several countries including Russia, China and Pakistan. The United States carries out drone strikes on Pakistan’s tribal regions almost regularly with Washington claiming that militants are the targets. However, casualty figures clearly indicate that civilians are the main victims. The London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism said in a report in February that the United States has carried out more than 360 assassination drone attacks in Pakistan since 2004, killing nearly 3,500 people. Washington has also been criticized for its drone strikes in Afghanistan, Somalia and Yemen. The Israeli regime also violates the airspace of Lebanon on an almost daily basis using its aircraft including spy drones. The findings of the UNHRC report have been scheduled for debate at the Human Rights Council in Geneva on May 29. GMA/HSN
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