Thanks to the diligent work of journalists, Just Security readers probably know by now that the United States has a squadron of armed drones based in the West African nation of Niger. Recent reports suggest that the U.S. military is on the brink of expanding this deployment, even as it plans to withdraw troops in the aftermath of a now infamous October 2017 incident in which four Navy SEALs were killed. What has received less attention is that one of Africa’s top human rights institutions is starting to apply its legal standards to the use of these drones.
At its February session, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) reviewed Niger’s compliance with its human rights obligations. In that review—published only recently—the Commission called on Niger to:
“Ensure respect for international human rights and humanitarian law, particularly regarding the use of combat drones and carry out