Stanford and NYU Law Schools Release Joint Report On U.S. Drone Attacks in Pakistan

On September 25, the International Human Rights and Conflict Resolution Clinic at Stanford Law School, together with the Global Justice Clinic at NYU Law School, released a joint report focusing on the severe impacts of U.S. sponsored drone attacks on primarily civilian targets within Pakistan.

The 182-page report, entitled Living Under Drones: Death, Injury, and Trauma to Civilians From US Drone Practices in Pakistan is the result of nine months of intensive research conducted by clinic students and instructors at both universities. The team of clinicians (including current and former Stanford students Adelina Acuña (’12), Mohammad M. Ali (’13), Anjali Deshmukh (’13), Jennifer Gibson (’12), Dimitri Phillips (’13), Wendy Salkin (’13), and Omar Shakir (’13)) interviewed 70 victims from the region most affected by the attacks, as well as 70 medical professionals, humanitarian workers, authorities and analysts, and reviewed thousands of pages of documentation in its preparation of this report. Since its release, Living Under Drones has received wide media coverage in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, the Huffington Post, among others. Such coverage has fostered broader debate on US drone practices in Pakistan and beyond.

By documenting the effects of strikes – including “double taps” that have struck first responders – the report not only quantifies the terrible impacts in human and institutional terms, but also questions the efficacy and morality of U.S. policy. The report further notes that the ongoing practice serves to inflame anti-American sentiment in Pakistan, undermines Pakistani democracy and is creating a dangerous international legal and practical precedents in dealing with security threats. The report recommends “that the US conduct a fundamental re-evaluation of current targeted killing practices, taking into account all available evidence, the concerns of various stakeholders, and the short and long-term costs and benefits.” It emphasizes that the U.S. policy makers and the American public “cannot continue to ignore evidence of the civilian harm and counterproductive impacts of US targeted killings and drone strikes in Pakistan.”