The Fellowship of Reconciliation, England (FoRE), has welcomed the notice of motion on Drones passed by the Methodist Conference on 7 July 2011. FoRE began campaigning against the destructive impact of military armed drones last year because of their association with high civilian casualties, legally questionable ‘targeted killings’ and the danger that they create a ‘Playstation Mentality’ to warfare.
The Motion says: "The Conference expresses concern at the increased use of 'drones' as weapons delivery platforms and especially at the evidence from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Gaza that such use places civilians at increased risk of injury and death.
"The Conference asks the Joint Public Issues Team to make a preliminary study in order to guide the Conference of 2012 on the particular ethical issues relating to these weapon systems."
The passing of the motion was strongly supported and welcomed by Mr Denis Beaumont, Chair of the Methodist Peace Fellowship and a Trustee of the Fellowship of Reconciliation.
The debate was addressed by the Rt Rev Humpfrey Peters, Bishop of Peshawar, Pakistan, who said that "for every targeted individual killed by a drone, around 10 other civilians are killed."
The Director of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, Millius Palayiwa said: “Armed drones are not in fact the precision weapons that arms manufacturers portray. They often kill indiscriminately, leaving ordinary lives devastated. The passing of this motion is a great boost to the Fellowship's campaign against the use of these weapons."
The Fellowship of Reconciliation is a spiritually-based movement committed to active nonviolence as a means of personal, social, economic and political transformation. FoR England (FoRE) is part of the International Fellowship of Reconciliation (IFOR).
FoR's report, Convenient Killing: Armed Drones and the Playstation Mentality, is available here: www.for.org.uk/files/drones-conv-killing.pdf
The UK government has deployed Reaper drones in Afghanistan since 2007 and currently has four in operation, while other drones intended for UK forces are in development by BAE Systems. UK forces also rent Hermes 450 drones from Israel on a “pay-by-the-hour” basis. In May 2011 the British government committed to double the UK’s fleet of Reaper drones, at a cost of £135 million