Explained: How Drones Are Endangering International Peace ?

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Drones, also known as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), have become a transformative technology with implications for international law. Their increasing prevalence in various sectors, including military, commercial, and recreational use, has prompted a closer examination of how existing legal frameworks apply to these unmanned systems.

New Delhi (ABC Live): Over the past few years, there has been an increasing inclination towards incorporating drones into military drills. In 2016, the U.S. Army executed a comprehensive exercise named Jade Helm 16, deploying a multitude of drones. This exercise aimed to evaluate the Army's proficiency in navigating intricate and contested environments, pushing the boundaries of its operational capabilities.

ABC Research Team working on Unmanned Aerial Vehicles writes about threats posed by this transformative technology with implications for international law.

Drones, also known as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), have become a transformative technology with implications for international law. Their increasing prevalence in various sectors, including military, commercial, and recreational use, has prompted a closer examination of how existing legal frameworks apply to these unmanned systems.

1. Sovereignty and Airspace:

One of the primary concerns in international law related to drones revolves around sovereignty and the use of airspace. The principle of state sovereignty asserts that each state has exclusive control over its own airspace. Therefore, the deployment of drones by one state within the airspace of another raises questions about respect for territorial integrity and the potential violation of sovereign rights.

2. Use in Armed Conflict:

In the context of armed conflict, the use of armed drones has prompted debates about adherence to principles of humanitarian law, particularly the distinction between combatants and civilians, proportionality, and the prevention of unnecessary harm. The lack of a human pilot on board adds complexity to determining responsibility and accountability for any violations of international law during armed drone operations.

3. Privacy and Data Protection:

The use of drones for surveillance and data collection has led to concerns about privacy rights. International law, through various human rights instruments, addresses the right to privacy, and questions arise regarding the appropriate limits on drone surveillance, especially when operated across borders or in areas with unclear jurisdiction.

4. Cross-Border Issues:

Drones, being versatile and capable of traversing borders easily, challenge traditional notions of jurisdiction. When drones operate across international boundaries, issues related to the application of national laws, tracking responsibilities, and responding to potential violations become complex.

5. Multilateral Agreements and Treaties:

Efforts to regulate drone use at the international level have been ongoing. Some countries have called for the development of new treaties or the adaptation of existing ones to address the unique challenges posed by drones. The establishment of international norms and standards could contribute to a more coherent legal framework.

6. Counter-terrorism and State Security:

The use of drones in counter terrorism activities raises legal questions about targeted killings, extrajudicial executions, and the right to life under international human rights law. Balancing state security concerns with the protection of fundamental rights remains a delicate challenge.

7. Diplomacy and Collaboration:

International collaboration is essential in addressing the legal challenges posed by drones. Diplomatic efforts to establish guidelines, codes of conduct, and cooperative mechanisms can contribute to a more harmonized and accountable use of this technology.

As the use of drones continues to evolve, the international legal community faces the ongoing task of adapting existing frameworks or developing new ones to ensure that the benefits of this technology are harnessed within the bounds of international law. This process requires collaboration, dialogue, and a commitment to balancing technological advancements with respect for established legal principles and human rights.

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