A follow up action to our Drone activity in late September will be, we hope, a meeting with the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon. We have written the letter below to him and hope that it will result in a meeting where we will press our case against weaponized and surveillance drones and present the petitions we collected during the last week of September [see “Grannies meet with United Nations officials”].
Your Excellency Ban Ki Moon, United Nations Secretary General,
The Granny Peace Brigade (GPB) is an anti-war group of older women, including several in their nineties. Since 2005, we have been working against the many facets of war.
We write to request a meeting with you at which we will present petitions against weaponized and surveillance drones. Some petitions were collected during a “street witness” and others are being collected on-line by Roots Action, another member of the No Drone Coalition. It is extremely urgent that the United Nations act to institute a worldwide ban against weaponized and surveillance drones.
Drones are the epitome of modern warfare, still horrific, but now cold and calculating, pretending all is clean while still blowing people to bits. As members of the No Drone Coalition, the GPB is aware of the rapid development and expanding application of drone technology. We are deeply concerned about the actual and potential global impact of these weapon and surveillance systems.
Over 650 people signed petitions during the first week of the General Assembly, September 23 – 28 when we held a “street witness.” Petition signers include many visitors from countries around the world. At each of the 16 witness sites, we distributed relevant information and engaged people in conversation concerning current and possible future applications of drone technology. To illustrate the fearsomeness of surveillance drones, a one-fifth scale MQ-9 Reaper drone replica was on display each day that week at three locations throughout Manhattan.
Considering the human rights violations inherent in the use of drones, we believe United Nations members, in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, should act to prohibit the use of both weaponized and surveillance drones worldwide. Drones that can kill violate International Law; result in inordinate civilian deaths and maiming; promote and enable assassination as an instrument of government policy; and provide an easy entrance into war. Surveillance drones, used for long term monitoring of individuals and groups, invade privacy, terrorize populations and are often followed up by murderous weaponized drones. Terror occurs because murder is expected, even when it doesn’t happen, and the threat results in violations of freedom of speech and of assembly.
Please take action(s) that will result in a worldwide Drone Ban Treaty that prohibits the use of weaponized and surveillance drones.
Granny Peace Brigade
cc: Angela Kane, Under-Secretary General, High Commissioner for Disarmament Affairs
Stephan Tafrov, Chair, Third Committee, Permanent Representative of Bulgaria
– Edith Cresmer and the Drone Committee
for the Granny Peace Brigade