Friday, September 13, 2013

Drones for Human Rights

Traditionally, drones are viewed as military equipment, used to provide useful intelligence on foreign activities to government organizations or to fire missiles in foreign countries.  Even though drones are used to accomplish violent acts, their use is justified due to the fact that they minimize soldier casualties, increase the speed and feasibility of staging an attack, and reduce the manpower and time needed to obtain valuable information about foreign entities.  Through these means, a government can make more informed decisions on what measures to take in conducting warfare and can more quickly and accurately execute attacks, increasing the speed at which the military can accomplish the tasks necessary to secure freedom, democracy, and human rights for the people of a foreign country.  While drones can indirectly aid in securing human rights, could this process be conducted more efficiently?
In order to identify human rights violations and provide adequate evidence to warrant foreign aid, governments or international bodies must conduct extensive, time-consuming, and often dangerous investigations, but what if there was a way to speed up this process? Through the use of drones, government bodies could quickly and safely identify human rights violations, and could therefore intercede and combat these violations more quickly.  Additionally, by using drones to identify human rights violations, their usefulness in securing human rights would be more direct, the process of providing humanitarian aid would be more efficient and timely, and the nature and scope of human rights violations could more accurately be relayed to the government bodies conducting warfare, leading to less unnecessary casualties and more productive and specialized warfare. 
Currently, the use of drones to identify human rights violations could be utilized in Syria.  The Arab League’s observers were forced to flee Syria and suspend investigations due to violence, but drones would not be subject to these same limitations.  The use of drones would also allow for human rights atrocities to be broadcast on a larger scale, increasing awareness and thereby resulting in more pressure on government and international bodies to respond.  Although using drones to monitor human rights violations in foreign countries might increase tensions with those foreign entities, which could magnify the scope of violent acts conducted on civilians and increase the hatred toward the countries using drones, I still think that the use of drones could be a valuable asset in investigating human rights violations.  First of all, they would help to obtain more accurate information, so unnecessary violence and conflict could be avoided.  In addition, the use of drones could minimize the time necessary to remedy human rights violations and could provide evidence to hold the right parties accountable for such atrocities. 

1 comment:

  1. Carolyn - good point about the positive uses drones could give us. Unfortunately, drones have been used in the recent past and the results have not been good for human rights. Yes, they involve less US humans, but they have not been particularly great about avoiding catastrophes with humans from other countries. I think you point to a good example of how a technology could be optimized to help with human rights. I just wish this was its only use.