From 2015, which countries will regulate drones

Successful US initiative: 45 governments to beautify the drone war

At least 44 states are participating in a US government initiative to regulate the export and use of armed drones. Because more and more countries are using or developing armed drones, it needs regulation by the "international community", according to the US State Department. Many governments have already passed appropriate laws, but the “misuse” of armed drones threatens stability and thus promotes “terrorism and organized crime”.

In a declaration, the 45 signatory states list five key points. At the beginning, it is restricted by the fact that every state should have the right to produce, export or procure armed drones. The only requirement is that they are used for legitimate purposes.

"Voluntary transparency measures" with restrictions

Demands include the use of armed drones in international treaties regulating warfare or human rights. The systems are to be exported in accordance with the applicable arms export regulations or disarmament treaties and take account of export restrictions for certain countries. The participating states should (provided this does not violate national security) make their exports public as “voluntary transparency measures”.

The US initiative goes back to a move by the State Department there, which published new regulations for possible sales of armed drones on February 17, 2015. Accordingly, the USA has a special responsibility, as the country is a world leader in drone technology. According to the paper, exports must also take into account the US government's foreign policy and economic interests, as well as regional power structures. Combat drones would only be delivered to selected allies, who should guarantee use in accordance with the law. Air strikes should only take place on the basis of law and order, for example if national security is at risk.

In contrast to the international declaration that has now been submitted, the US standards also demand that drones are not used for illegal surveillance of the population; their pilots should receive appropriate training in order to minimize injuries and damage.

The federal government also signs

The regulations that have now been presented at international level are intended to apply “for all states”. The declaration leaves it open for the time being. Discussions on this should start in spring 2017, it is unclear whether critics can also participate. Until then, other governments will be called upon to sign. So far, the list includes countries such as Great Britain, Austria, Colombia, the Netherlands and Ukraine. In addition to France, Turkey is missing, as well as Iran, China and Russia, which, according to their own admission, also develop and manufacture armed drones.

Surprisingly, the federal government has also signed; as recently as September, the Federal Foreign Office had merely declared that it was “in principle open to the proposed standards”.

According to a report, many of the states addressed were urged by the Obama administration to sign, although they did not agree with the content. Sources not named have also announced that the declaration will soon be presented to the United Nations.

About the author

Matthias Monroy

Knowledge worker, activist and member of the editorial board of the magazine Bürgerrechte & Polizei / CILIP. All texts at, in English, on Twitter @matthimon. Not a believer in conspiracy theories of any kind. Use the Binnen-I despite the rumble of annoying masculists.
Published 10/11/2016 at 3:48 PM