April 23, 2013
On April 23, a news conference was held at the Frontline in London to publicly launch the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots. In its first public statement, the campaign called for urgent action to preemptively ban lethal robot weapons that would be able to select and attack targets without any human intervention.
The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots is a coordinated international coalition of non-governmental organizations concerned with the implications of fully autonomous weapons, also called “killer robots.” It calls for a pre-emptive and comprehensive ban on the development, production, and use of fully autonomous weapons. The prohibition should be achieved through an international treaty, as well as through national laws and other measures.
The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots believes that humans should not delegate the responsibility of making lethal decisions to machines. It has multiple moral, legal, technical, and policy concerns with the prospect of fully autonomous weapons.
The UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Professor Christof Heyns, is due to deliver his report on lethal autonomous robotics to the second session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, starting May 27, 2013. The report is expected to contain recommendations for government action on fully autonomous weapons.
The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots includes several non-governmental organizations (NGOs) associated with the successful efforts to ban landmines, cluster munitions, and blinding lasers. Its members collectively have a wide range of expertise in robotics and science, aid and development, human rights, humanitarian disarmament, international law and diplomacy, and the empowerment of women, children, and persons with disabilities. The campaign is building a worldwide network of civil society contacts.
The Steering Committee is the principal leadership and decision-making body for of the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots. It is comprised of five international NGOs–Human Rights Watch, International Committee for Robot Arms Control, Nobel Women’s Initiative, Pugwash Conferences on Science & World Affairs, and Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom–and four national NGOs that work internationally: Article 36 (UK), Association for Aid and Relief Japan, Mines Action Canada, and IKV Pax Christi (The Netherlands).
The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots was established by representatives of seven of these NGOs at a meeting in New York on 19 October 2012. It is an inclusive and diverse coalition open to NGOs, community groups, and professional associations that support the campaign’s call for a ban and are willing to undertake actions and activities in support of the campaign’s objectives. The campaign’s initial coordinator is Mary Wareham of Human Rights Watch.
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