The changes in reporting casualties in the Middle East announced by the ADF are a long overdue first step towards transparency, the Australian Greens said today.
Australian Greens Co-deputy Leader and Defence spokesperson Senator Scott Ludlam said, “the Greens have long called for greater transparency regarding ADF involvement in incidents where civilians are killed and wounded. The fortnightly reports on Australian strikes are a good first step.
“We’d like to see this reporting expanded to include any actions where Australian forces or facilities were involved, including where Australian personnel are in advisory or observer roles.
“Drone strikes facilitated by Australian resources have been kept completely under wraps. Even basic information about these controversial actions is yet to be released.
“The Pentagon recently announced that 352 civilian fatalities were caused by U.S. forces in the region, but Airwars, an independent group assessing the impact of the wars in Iraq, Syria and Libya, estimates that there have been nearly ten times as many civilians killed by coalition air strikes.
“It's difficult to believe Australian personnel or resources have not been involved in a single one of these more than 3000 deaths. Our government must hold the ADF to a higher standard than the US administration does, and make it clear when any Australian forces are involved in an action that results in civilian casualties.
“The best way to ensure we aren’t involved in any civilian deaths is to stop blindly following the US into every war in the first place,” Senator Ludlam said.