Remote Horizons: Expanding Use and Proliferation of Military Drones in Africa
PAX, May 2021
A new report from PAX finds that the use of armed drones is expanding rapidly across the African continent, with few agreed-upon policies, rules, and procedures for their deployment. The report also shows that in the last 14 years, African and foreign states have been involved in drone operations in at least 20 states in North Africa, the Sahel and Horn of Africa.
The expanding use of armed drones poses an especially high risk for civilian protection, as countries come to over-rely on a weapon system that minimizes risk to their own military personnel while also trying to make consequences of drone operations less visible.
In addition to the use of armed drones by foreign actors, particularly the United States, France, and other western powers, African countries are also expanding their arsenal. Governments across the continent have been employing drones in a variety of counterterror and counterinsurgency missions, using secrecy to obscure the civilian toll of those operations. Additionally, the wide availability of commercial drones has meant non-state actors have also begun using the technology in their operations.
The report notes that the expanding use of drones by African states is often a result of cooperation with or support from non-African governments, particularly the United States.
The report makes a series of recommendations to ensure that the use of armed drones minimizes civilian harm, comports with international humanitarian and human rights law, and creates a set of procedures and norms to ensure improved oversight and accountability. To read the full report, click here.
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Data Fact of the Week:
Drone Use in North Africa, the Sahel, and the Horn of Africa
The graphic above, courtesy of PAX, illustrates the countries in Africa that have had a drone event in North Africa, the Sahel, and the Horn of Africa.
A new report from PAX finds that in the last 14 years, African and foreign states have been involved in drone operations in at least 20 states in North Africa, the Sahel, and the Horn of Africa.