Enhedslisten targets drones

Far-left party wants parliament to ban investments into military drones

Far-left party Enhedslisten (EL) has proposed a law in parliament that would make it illegal for companies and private individuals to invest in companies that manufacture military drones.

The law was proposed following an investigation by news publication Arbejderen and British human rights organisation Reprieve, which revealed that one of Denmark’s biggest pension funds, PensionDanmark, had invested over 125 million kroner in ten companies involved in the manufacture of unmanned drones used for military purposes.

"We already have laws banning investments in the production of landmines and cluster bombs," EL’s defence spokesperson Nikolaj Villumsen told The Copenhagen Post that. "The use of some weapons is so problematic that strong international laws are required to regulate their use.”

He added that pension funds should invest in industries that are more beneficial to society, such as renewable energy.

But Bjarne Laustsen, Socialdemokraterne's defence spokesperson, disagrees with Villumsen.

“Pension funds are democratically controlled and it is up to the people who own them to decide what they want to invest in,” Laustsen said.

Villumsen claims the biggest factors motivating EL's proposal was the lack of international laws regulating drone usage and the numerous civilian casualties.

“We believe that all investment in the development and manufacturing of drones should be banned until clear international regulations have been established," he said.

But Laustsen argued that a ban would be impossible to implement.

“We live in an international market and we can’t stop people from investing abroad,” Laustsen added.

The usage and regulation of drones is being debated around the world with notable figures, including former US President Jimmy Carter, contending that the use of military drones by the Obama administration is a breach of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Villumsen believes that the use of drones in military conflicts should be researched but admitted that their use in war was a "problematic area".

“I believe that parliament should establish a committee to investigate how these weapons are being used, including the number of civilian casualties [they cause], and discuss the possibility of making them illegal,” he said.

Laustsen, on the other hand, does not believe the use of drones in military actions is problematic and pointed out that not all drones are armed.

“Drones are a useful tool for reconnaissance that in many cases could help avoid hitting civilian targets,"he said. "I don’t believe there is any difference in sitting in a plane or controlling it from a distance.”