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February 27, 2013

Targeted Killing Hearing Underscores Need for Transparency

Washington, DC – Today, following a House Judiciary Committee hearing on the constitutionality of targeted killing, including the killing of American citizens, Human Rights First’s Daphne Eviatar issued the following statement:

“Congress today appropriately increased pressure on the Obama Administration to make good on the President’s State of the Union pledge to be more transparent with the public about its operations. Today’s hearing was an important first step toward what should be vigorous Congressional oversight of the U.S. drone program that has caused concern both within the United States and among our allies abroad. As the bipartisan panel of witnesses all made clear today, the only way to have meaningful oversight of U.S. drone operations is for the administration to make public the legal basis for its targeted killing program and to release more information about who the U.S. is killing and why.  Only then can Americans and non-Americans alike be assured that the U.S. government is wielding its power to use lethal force appropriately and within the bounds of the law.”

Earlier today, ahead of the House Judiciary Committee hearing, Human Rights First’s Gabor Rona published a piece in The Hill’s Congress Blogthat addressed targeted killing and the hotly debated topic of establishing a “drone court.” In his argument against such a move, he detailed steps Congress should take to ensure improved transparency about the U.S. targeted killing program and to provide an avenue for victims of unlawful targeting to claim compensation, a step he argues wills reign in government abuse.

Human Rights First has also authored a blueprint that outlines recommendations to ensure that the U.S. targeted killing/drone program is not undermining human rights. In How to Ensure that the U.S. Drone Program Does Not Undermine Human Rights, the organization notes that the Obama Administration should prioritize transparency, legality and oversight.

For more information, please contact Brenda Bowser Soder atbowsersoderb@humanrightsfirst.org or 202-370-3323.