Unmanned aerial vehicles – drones – have been a hot topic in the news for many years. These cost-efficient combat machines are changing the nature of warfare and potentially the dynamics of international relations.
The CIA has used drones to carry out targeted killings in contravention of conventional interpretations of international law. This is setting a dangerous new precedent.
We have investigated their use for targeted killings, their implications under international law, and the ethics of increased automation in the use of technology. We are also concerned that the ready availability of drones makes recourse to military intervention more likely.
Methodist Church and URC resolutions
The central bodies of the Methodist Church and United Reformed Church have passed resolutions calling on the Government to state its position on the legality the use of drones for targeted killings. You can see our Churches’ Submission of Evidence to UK Defence Committee here published 25 March 2014.
Drones: Ethical Dilemmas in the Application of Military Force
In 2012 JPIT produced a paper on the ethical dilemmas surrounding drones. The paper took the approach of engaging with the reality of drones while remaining committed to the Biblical teaching that peacemaking is at the heart of the teaching of Jesus, not an optional extra.