113 Groups Demand Biden End US Use of Lethal Airstrikes Abroad

July 2nd, 2021 - by The America Civil Liberties Union

113 Groups Demand Biden End US Use of Lethal Airstrikes Abroad

The America Civil Liberties Union

On June 30, 2021, 113 organizations from the United States and around the world sent a letter to President Biden calling for an end to the US program of lethal strikes outside recognized battlefields, including through the use of drones.

The Letter

President Joseph R. Biden, Jr.
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear President Biden,

We, the undersigned organizations, focus variously on human rights, civil rights and civil liberties, racial, social, and environmental justice, humanitarian approaches to foreign policy, faith-based initiatives, peace-åbuilding, government accountability, veterans’ issues, and the protection of civilians.

We write to demand an end to the unlawful program of lethal strikes outside any recognized battlefield, including through the use of drones. This program is a centerpiece of the United States’ forever wars and has exacted an appalling toll on Muslim, Brown, and Black communities in multiple parts of the world.

Your administration’s current review of this program, and the approaching 20th anniversary of 9/11, is an opportunity to abandon this war-based approach and chart a new path forward that promotes and respects our collective human security.

Successive presidents have now claimed the unilateral power to authorize secretive extrajudicial killing outside any recognized battlefield, with no meaningful accountability for wrongful deaths and civilian lives lost and injured.

This lethal strikes program is a cornerstone of the broader US war-based approach, which has led to wars and other violent conflicts; hundreds of thousands dead, including significant civilian casualties; massive human displacement; and indefinite military detention and torture. It has caused lasting psychological trauma and deprived families of beloved members, as well as means of survival.

In the United States, this approach has contributed to further militarized and violent approaches to domestic policing; bias-based racial, ethnic, and religious profiling in investigations, prosecutions, and watch-listing; warrantless surveillance; and epidemic rates of addiction and suicide among veterans, among other harms. It is past time to change course and start repairing the damage done.

We appreciate your stated commitments to ending “forever wars,” promoting racial justice, and centering human rights in US foreign policy. Disavowing and ending the lethal strikes program is both a human rights and racial justice imperative in meeting these commitments.

Twenty years into a war-based approach that has undermined and violated fundamental rights, we urge you to abandon it and embrace an approach that advances our collective human security. That approach should be rooted in promoting human rights, justice, equality, dignity, peacebuilding, diplomacy, and accountability, in action as well as words.


US-Based Organizations

About Face: Veterans Against the War

Action Center on Race & the Economy

Alliance for Peacebuilding

Alliance of Baptists

American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC)

American Civil Liberties Union

American Friends

Service Committee

American Muslim Bar Association (AMBA)

American Muslim Empowerment Network (AMEN)

Amnesty International USA

Beyond the Bomb

Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC)

Center for Constitutional Rights

Center for Victims of Torture


Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach

Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute

Common Defense

Center for International Policy

Center for Nonviolent Solutions

Church of the Brethren, Office of Peacebuilding and Policy


Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)

Council on American-Islamic Relations (Washington Chapter)

Defending Rights & Dissent

Demand Progress Education Fund

Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN)


Empowering Pacific Islander Communities (EPIC)


Environmentalists Against War

Friends Committee on National Legislation

Global Justice Clinic, NYU School of Law

Government Information Watch

Human Rights First

Human Rights Watch

ICNA Council for Social Justice

Institute for Policy Studies, New Internationalism Project

Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility

International Civil Society Action Network (ICAN)

Justice For Muslims Collective

Kairos Center for Religions, Rights and Social Justice

Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns

Military Families Speak Out

Muslim Justice League

National Religious Campaign Against Torture

North Carolina Peace Action

Open Society Policy Center

Orange County Peace Coalition

Pax Christi USA

Peace Action

Peace Education Center

Poligon Education Fund

Presbyterian Church (USA) Office of Public Witness

Progressive Democrats of America

Project Blueprint

Queer Crescent

Rethinking Foreign Policy


Saferworld (Washington Office)

Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference

September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows

ShelterBox USA

South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT)

Sunrise Movement

United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries

United for Peace and Justice

University Network for Human Rights

US Campaign for Palestinian Rights

Veterans for American Ideals (VFAI)

Veterans For Peace

Western New

York Pax Christi

Win Without War

Women for Afghan Women

Women for Weapons Trade Transparency

Women Watch Afrika

Women’s Action for New Directions

Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom US

Internationally-Based Organizations


Alf Ba Civilian and Coexistence Foundation (Yemen)

Allamin Foundation for Peace and Development (Nigeria)


Building Blocks for Peace Foundation (Nigeria)

Campaña Colombiana Contra Minas (Colombia)

Centre for Democracy and Development (Nigeria)

Center for Policy Analysis of Horn of Africa (Somaliland)

Conciliation Resources (United Kingdom)

Defence for Human Rights (Yemen)

Digital Shelter (Somalia)

Drone Wars UK

European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights

Foundation for Fundamental Rights (Pakistan)

Heritage Institute for Somali Studies (Somalia)

Initiatives for International Dialogue (Philippines)

International Association for Political Science Students (IAPSS)

IRIAD (Italy)

Justice Project Pakistan

Lawyers for Justice in Libya (LFJL)

Mareb Girls Foundation (Yemen)

Mwatana for Human Rights (Yemen)

National Organization for Development Society (Yemen)

National Partnership of Children and Youth in Peacebuilding (Democratic Republic of the Congo)

PAX (Netherlands)

Peace Direct (United Kingdom)

Peace Initiative Network (Nigeria)

Peace Training and Research Organisation (PTRO) (Afghanistan)

Reprieve (United Kingdom)

Shadow World Investigations (United Kingdom)

Witness Somalia

Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF)

World BEYOND War

Yemeni Youth Forum for Peace

The Youth Cafe (Kenya)

Youth for Peace and Development (Zimbabwe

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