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“Licence to Kill”: The United States’ Illegal Drone Program and the Dark Legacy of Collective Punishment

Talaat, Nadine

This paper will investigate the use of drone strikes by the United States government in its ongoing counterterrorism efforts in the Middle East as part of the War on Terror. It will focus on the use of drones during the Obama administration and investigate the ways in which the program violates both international human rights law and international humanitarian law. It will then argue that the United States government’s drone program constitutes a form of collective punishment as outlined and prohibited in Geneva Convention IV. In arguing that the drone program constitutes a form of collective punishment, the paper hopes to emphasize the gravity of violations of international law that the United States is committing. It will examine why the United States has been allowed to continue violating international law with little repercussions, focusing on the lack of transparency and refusal to disclose information regarding its counterterrorist operation. Finally, it will provide suggestions as to how the international community can work towards holding the United States accountable to international law in order to maintain the credibility of international law and ensure that the basic human rights of all individuals are protected and upheld.

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Academic Units
Institute for the Study of Human Rights
Degree
B.A., Columbia University
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