Procedure : 2014/2567(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B7-0203/2014

Texts tabled :


Debates :

Votes :

PV 27/02/2014 - 10.9
CRE 27/02/2014 - 10.9
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :


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See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B7-0201/2014

to wind up the debate on the statement by the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy

pursuant to Rule 110(2) of the Rules of Procedure

on the use of armed drones (2014/2567(RSP))

Sabine Lösing, Willy Meyer, Patrick Le Hyaric, Martina Anderson, Marie-Christine Vergiat, Alda Sousa, Paul Murphy, Cornelia Ernst, Younous Omarjee on behalf of the GUE/NGL Group

European Parliament resolution on the use of armed drones (2014/2567(RSP))  

The European Parliament,

–       having regard to the UN report on targeted killings (2010),

–       having regard to the Geneva Conventions (1949) and the Additional Protocols thereto (1977),

–       having regard to its study of 3 May 2013 on the ‘Human rights implications of the usage of drones and unmanned robots in warfare’,

–       having regard to the 2012 studies entitled ‘Living under drones’ (Universities of Stanford and New York) and ‘The civilian impact of drones’ (Center for Civilians in Conflict – Columbia University, New York),

–       having regard to the Statewatch report entitled ‘Eurodrones Inc.’,

–       having regard to Rule 110(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.     whereas the use of combat drones for targeted killings has increased substantially in the past decade;

B.     whereas, according to the Geneva Conventions, in a non-international armed conflict it is permissible to target persons only if they are participating directly in hostilities, and in the event of doubt, individuals must be treated as civilians;

C.     whereas international human rights law prohibits arbitrary killings in any situation; whereas international humanitarian law does not permit the targeted killing of persons who are located in non-belligerent states;

D.     whereas, according to the UN report on targeted killings, combat drone operations ‘necessarily lead to indiscriminate killings of civilians’; whereas, according to the Long War Journal, Pakistan Body Count and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, between 2 412 and 3 701 people have been killed in combat drone operations in Pakistan since 2004, among them 154 to 2 512 civilians (416 to 951 according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism)(1); whereas US combat drone strikes have been reported in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Libya, Iraq, Somalia and Uganda;

E.     whereas combat drone strikes, in addition to killing civilians, cause fear, psychological traumas and major damage to the socioeconomic life of the population;

F.     whereas any expenditure arising from operations having military or defence implications is excluded from EUbudget funding (Article 41(2) TEU);

G.     whereas, on 19 November 2013, at the meeting of the European Defence Agency’s Steering Board, Defence Ministers committed to the launch of a joint Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) project with dual-use character – for civilian and military use; whereas the use of such a system for targeted killings has not been explicitly excluded so far; whereas the Council, at its meeting of December 2013, agreed to promote the research and development of RPAS (drones) in the timeframe 2020-2025;

H.     whereas the use and deployment of armed drones undermine the principle of the rule of law, parliamentary scrutiny and democracy in general;

1.      Denounces the use of drones in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Libya, Iraq, Somalia and Uganda as a flagrant violation of the Charter of the UN and as a violation of state sovereignty; calls for an international convention prohibiting the use of armed drones;

2.      Urges the Council and the Member States to categorically prohibit drone operations for the purpose of targeted killings, to prevent and reject any extrajudicial executions and to advocate the international prohibition of combat drones;

3.      Urges the Council and the Member States , pending a total ban on combat drone operations, to commit to ensuring that states publish their criteria for combat drone operations, as well as information about the victims of such operations, in particular civilian victims;

4.      Urges the EU and its Member States to commit to ensuring that, in the event of unlawful killings, measures are taken against the perpetrators and identified perpetrators are penalised;

5.      Condemns the development of drones, as this escalates the arms race, and rejects the repeated and future EU funding of any military or civil-military research and projects, in particular through the EU research programme (since 2014 ‘Horizon 2020’); demands the reallocation of public funds and research in order to benefit society, and in particular to support public social, ecological, cultural and health projects and research;

6.      Stresses the importance of incorporating Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) into item lists of international arms export control regimes, such as the EU common position on arms exports and the Arms Trade Treaty; calls for global disarmament and purely political and peaceful conflict resolution;

7.      Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the parliaments of the Member States, the UN General Assembly and the Commission.


No official data on US and/or EU drone strikes are available, nor official reports on casualties. The figures represent data collected from independent organisations such as the Long War Journal, Pakistan Body Count and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which obtain these data from press reports in local/regional and international newspapers.

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