On Tuesday, October 29, the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice (CHRGJ) and Open Society Foundations (OSF) co-hosted the event, “Views from the Ground: Investigating U.S. Drone Strikes.”
Among the speakers were Rafiq ur Rehman, whose mother was killed in an October 2012 drone strike in Pakistan, and his son Zubair. The morning of this event at the Law School, his family testified before Congress about the drone strike. A few days earlier, he had published a piece about his loss in The Guardian. “I want Americans to know about my mother,” he wrote at that time. “And I hope, maybe, I might get an answer to just one question: why?” Robert Greenwald, president of Brave New Foundation, also shared a clip from his new documentary, “Unmanned: America’s Drone Wars,” which features Rehman’s story.
After their discussion, Steve Coll, dean of Columbia Journalism School and a staff writer at The New Yorker, introduced a panel of experts: Christof Heyns, UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, who recently released a UN report on targeted killings; Hina Shamsi, Director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Security Project, who discussed the ACLU’s challenge of targeted killings as well as the killings of US citizens in Yemen; Letta Tayler, Senior Terrorism/Counterterrorism Researcher at Human Rights Watch, who has a new report on drone strikes in Yemen; and Mustafa Qadri, Amnesty International Pakistan Researcher, who discussed Amnesty’s report on drone strikes in Pakistan.
Sarah Knuckey, director of the Initiative on Human Rights Fact-Finding and the Project on Extrajudicial Executions at CHRGJ, and Christopher Rogers, program officer for the Regional Policy Initiative at Open Society Foundations, opened the evening.
This event was held in memory of Ibrahim Mothana, a Yemeni advocate and writer. In June 2012, his New York Times op-ed argued that drone strikes simply turn people against the United States. He passed away in early September at age twenty-four.
Watch the full video of the event (1 hr, 25 min):
Posted on November 15, 2013