The topics before the Sixth General Assembly are “Establishing a Legal Framework for the Regulation of Military Drones” and “The Question of Criminal Accountability of UN Officials and Experts on Missions”. The sixth committee of the UNGA (GA6) is the main forum on legal issues faced by the UN, and it is one in which all member states have one vote per nation.
1. Establishing a Legal Framework for the Regulation of Military Drones
Drones, also known as unmanned aerial vehicles, are mainly used by military forces when manned flight is considered too dangerous and risky. Unfortunately, such developed technology is being directed towards warfare where it is used as spying equipment, and more commonly, for military strikes. However, their use is not exclusive to political operations; in fact, non-lethal drones are on the verge of taking all sorts of industries to the next step, they can be used to serve scientific purposes, humanitarian causes, and much more. Drones could in fact revolutionize our economy and lifestyles in ways we could have only dreamed of just a few years ago.
Unfortunately, Syria, considering the circumstances it is encountering at the moment, has been under multiple attacks, violations and aggression, through multiples means of machinery and weapons, including those of armed drones. Those attacks are believed to have been carried out mainly by diverse groups of terrorists that are backed up and supported not only by global countries, mainly the US, but also by regional ones.
On the 31st of December 2017, a bombing attack through drones was directed at the Hmeimim base near the north-western city of Latakia. The coastal Hmeimim airbase is at the core of Russia’s war effort in Syria. This attack ended up killing and injuring multiple civilians, as well as two Russian servicemen. Moreover, Syria, due to its important and critical geographical location, is being under constant illegal and unconsented for observation, by the use of drones.
Syria allows for the use of drones within national borders, such as Russia’s airbase in Hmeimim that sends airstrikes to terrorist rebel groups, in order to re-establish lost grounds of Syria. Other than claiming its land, Syria encourages the use of drones inside the perspective of peacekeeping and humanitarian causes, as their military use has taken the lives of many civilians and noncombatants, not only in Syria, but also in Afghanistan, Libya, Pakistan, Yemen, and more..
Syria is ready to help establish a legal framework for the use of drones, and demands to arrange with regional countries to organize and control their use, and to put an end to the blood massacres that occur using this equipment. Under the national humanitarian law drones are neither prohibited nor perfidious. Syria believes that crystal clear rules and obligations must be urgently established as an international guideline for all nations to abide to, that minimizes under the radar international use of those vehicles.