In early 2016, the United States initiated the Joint Declaration, aiming to improve the control on export and subsequent use of the armed or strike-enabled unmanned aerial vehicles, better known as drones. The process grew out of growing concerns over proliferation and possible misuse of armed drones by States and non-State actors.
Following the Joint Declaration’s launch, States that signed the document agreed to a process to continue to develop a process to draft international standards with the aim of creating stricter controls on drones. Civil society organizations and human rights experts have expressed serious concerns regarding the content of and process for the drafting of these standards. PAX urges States to develop a strong, legally binding instrument that aims to effectively regulate the use and export of armed drones and addresses key concerns over the use of armed drones in relation to international legal principles. Such a process should be undertaken in a transparent and inclusive manner.
This policy paper provides a background to the wider discussion of developing drone standards and provides recommendations on the content of and process for building these international norms.