LONDON - The United Nations launched an inquiry on Thursday into the use of unmanned drones in counter-terrorism operations, after criticism of the number of innocent civilians killed by the aircraft.
The inquiry, announced in London, will investigate 25 drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan and the Palestinian territories.
Most attacks with unmanned aerial vehicles have been by the United States. Britain and Israel have also used them, and dozens more states are believed to possess the technology.
"The plain fact is that this technology is here to stay, and its use in theatres of conflict is a reality with which the world must contend," said inquiry leader Ben Emmerson, the UN special rapporteur on counter-terrorism and human rights.
"It is therefore imperative that appropriate legal and operational structures are urgently put in place to regulate its use in a manner that complies with the requirements of international law."