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UN concerned over drone attacks in Pakistan

world Updated: Jun 19, 2012 13:08 IST

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Navanethem Pillay, the UN high commissioner for human rights, has expressed concern over the continuing use of armed drones in Pakistan's northwest tribal region as it was unclear that all people targeted were militants.

Pillay, in her opening statement to the 20th session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva, said that during her recent visit to Pakistan she was impressed by "the energy and capacity" available in the country to strengthen human rights and democracy.

Pillay said it was not clear that all the people targeted by the drones were "combatants or directly participating in hostilities", the Associated Press of Pakistan reported.

There have been at least 22 drone strikes in Pakistan's northwest this year, in which 159 people have reportedly been killed.

Zamir Akram, permanent representative of Pakistan to the UNHRC, thanked the high commissioner for her words of encouragement in commending the efforts made by Pakistan to strengthen human rights.

He reiterated the position of the Pakistani government that drone strikes were contrary to international law, a violation of Pakistan's sovereignty, and were counter-productive.

Akram called upon the international community to pay heed to the concerns expressed by the high commissioner with regard to drone attacks.