Flying under the radar: The use of armed drones for targeted killings, especially outside formal war zones, remains contentious while the EU has an opportunity to play an important role in setting international standards on the use of armed drones. How can the EU address the ongoing concerns over armed drones, particularly regarding the lack of transparency, accountability and potential human rights violations?

Submitted by: David Cvetkovski (NL), Janou Gregorowitsch (NL), Gabrielle Groeneveld (NL), Anna Jansen op de Haar (NL), Jason der Kinderen (NL), Lieveke Schoordijk (NL), Marieke de Weerd (NL), Sinéad de Visser (NL), Hana Vicherková (Chairperson, CZ)

The European Youth Parliament,

  1. Fully aware of the inevitable continuous utilisation of unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs) such as the Future Combat Air System 1  The Future Combat Air System (FCAS) is a core initiative of the Macron Administration for both defence modernization and building out defence cooperation with its core Airbus allies, Germany and Spain. in the future of warfare,
  2. Deeply concerned by the lack of concrete legislation resulting in the appearance of loopholes, creating the possibility of accountability avoidance regarding the use of UCAVs,
  3. Alarmed by the changed psychological phenomena as a result of the utilisation of UCAVs such as the dehumanisation of military operations,
  4. Acknowledging the number of military personnel deployed in active combat zones harmed by the negative effects of war often resulting in mental health issues, physical injuries or even death,
  5. Deeply regretting the lack of a common stance of the Member States pertaining to the use of UCAVs for targeted killings during warfare,
  6. Recognising the hazards specific to the use of UCAV technology, such as technical malfunction or miscalculation of projectile trajectories,
  7. Emphasising the importance of the fundamental values of the European Union as mentioned in Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU), 2 Article 2 of TEU states the values of the EU such as the respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, the rule of law and respect of human rights.
  8. Observing the lack of accountability Member States currently have for actions in warfare, illustrated by instances such as:
    1. the past condemnation by the EU of targeted UCAV attacks in Israel,
    2. conscious killing of civilians as a result of military strategies that allow such an occurrence as a compromise,
  9. Noting with regret the lack of transparency in relation to:
    1. registration and licensing of unmanned aerial vehicles capable of carrying payloads,
    2. the estimated amount of civilian deaths caused by UCAVs,
    3. the GPS coordinates of UCAVs moving outside of combat zones;
  1. Calls upon the European Commission to create a structured framework on weaponry used in combat with a particular focus on UCAVs so as to prevent loopholes found in previous signed treaties;
  2. Advises the European Commision to allocate funding towards non-governmental organisations (NGOs) providing humanitarian aid for civilian victims residing in areas affected by the use of UCAVs;
  3. Appeals to Member States’ Ministries of Defence to introduce an extensive military training programme for UCAV operators consisting of:
    1. additional psychological testing ensuring the mental capabilities of personnel,
    2. an explanatory course deeply focusing on the moral consequences of the usage of UCAVs in warfare;
  4. Encourages Member States to recognise the positive aspects of UCAV usage such as the reduced need for troops in active combat;
  5. Supports discussions between Member States in order to work towards a unified strategy of UCAV implementation;
  6. Suggests the European Commission to allocate funding to departments responsible for  regular technical inspections of UCAVs focusing on defect prevention stemming from:
    1. inconsistent application of new technologies across models and makes,
    2. software or hardware malfunctions;
  7. Calls upon the European Council to strictly sanction the failure to adhere to the general EU ideal to retain democratic values, human rights and rule of law as mentioned in Article 2 of TEU regardless of the type of combat means implemented during warfare;
  8. Invites peace-keeping NGOs to conduct independent impartial investigations with the intention of:
    1. preventing vagueness regarding the engagement of UCAVs during military operations,
    2. analysing the justification of collateral damage in the form of civilian casualties for  separate instances;
  9. Calls upon the European Commission to devise a legislative proposal to encourage transparency pertaining to the use of UCAVs by:
    1. making the reporting of the list of newly purchased and already possessed armed drones similar to the existing public nuclear weaponry list as well as the number of civilian casualties during targeted killings,
    2. demanding clear information from Member States on the movement of UCAVs passing through airspaces of Member States in a confidential manner with the affected Member States’ governments.