- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International and several other human rights groups are asking President Obama to begin investigating all civilian deaths and injuries resulting from U.S. counterterrorism drone strikes and to make the results of those investigations public.

The coalition of human rights groups sent a letter to Mr. Obama Wednesday in the wake of the deaths of Warren Weinstein, an American aid worker, and Giovanni Lo Porto, an Italian aid worker, who died in a U.S. drone strike on an al Qaeda facility in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region in January. The administration didn’t know the two men — who were al Qaeda hostages — were housed there despite hundreds of hours of surveillance footage.

“We write to urge your administration to adopt the same approach to all other U.S. counterterrorism strikes in which civilians have been injured or killed — regardless of their nationalities,” the letter states. “To that end, your administration should establish a systematic and transparent mechanism for post-strike investigations, which are made public and provide appropriate redress to civilian victims.”

The human rights groups included at the bottom of their letter to Mr. Obama 10 cases of civilian victims of U.S. strikes, which they say are deserving of public redress. All of the strikes took place in Pakistan and Yemen between 2009 and 2014, each killing anywhere from four to 24 civilians — many of them children, according to the human rights groups.

The Center for Civilians in Conflict, Center for Constitutional Rights, European Center for Constitutional Rights, European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights, Human Rights Clinic, Human Rights First, Human Rights Watch, Open Society Foundations and British human rights group Reprieve also signed the letter.

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