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Stop Killer Robots calls for new international law on autonomy in weapons systems.


Consensus: killer robots must be addressed

On 30 May 2013 in Geneva, nations for the first time ever debated what to do about fully autonomous weapons at the United Nations Human Rights Council following the presentation of the report on ‘lethal autonomous robotic weapons’ by the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Professor Christof Heyns. During the "interactive dialogue," 20 nations spoke for up to three minutes each on the report's findings on fully autonomous weapons: Algeria, Argentina (GRULAC), Austria, Brazil, China, Cuba, Egypt, France, Germany, Indonesia, Iran, Mexico, Morocco, Pakistan, Russia, Sierra Leone, Sweden, Switzerland, UK, and US. There were also statements by the European Union (comprised of 27 states) and Pakistan on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (56 states). All these nations expressed interest and concern in the challenges posed by fully autonomous weapons. None opposed discussing the issue further. Pakistan expressed its support for a ban, while others endorsed the report's call for a moratorium. The United Kingdom was the only state to declare its opposition to the call for a moratorium or a ban on fully autonomous weapons. Brazil and France suggested the Convention on Conventional Weapons as a venue for discussing the topic further. Sweden explained that it is traditionally responsible for the resolution on the work of the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions. It said the resolution will be put forward in 2014 at the 26th session of the Human Rights Council (this is currently the 23rd session). Sweden indicated that the resolution will include operative paragraphs on the recommendations contained in the report. The United Nations disarmament chief Angela Kane provided a statement delivered by Jarmo Sareva that noted, "[t]he emergence of autonomous weapons calls into question the adequacy of measures to implement the rules of armed conflict that apply to the use of all weapon systems. The purpose of these rules is clear. The major imperative is to protect civilians from unacceptable harm. There must also be adequate human accountability at all times. Yet, one key question posed by autonomous weapons is how can accountability be maintained when humans are no longer involved in the final decision?"


UN report on lethal autonomous robotics

The United Nations (UN) report calling for a global moratorium on lethal autonomous robotics, weapons systems that can select and kill targets without a human being directly issuing a command, will be considered this week in Geneva. The report is due to be presented to the UN Human Rights Council during the afternoon of Wednesday, May 29 by its author Professor Christof Heyns, the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. The presentation will be followed by a debate where--for the first time-ever in a multilateral forum--governments will provide their views on the question of what to do about fully autonomous weapons.

Campaign launch in London

This week saw the launch of the international Campaign to Stop Killer Robots in London with a series of events to brief activists, media, and parliamentarians. A conference for non-governmental organizations (NGOs), held at the Human Rights…


Our campaign and call to action

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.


NGO Conference

On Monday, April 22, the Steering Committee of the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots convened a day-long conference at the Human Rights Action Centre in London for representatives from non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to discuss the new initiative to pre-emptively ban fully autonomous weapons.


New US policy

On 21 November 2012, the Department of Defense of the United States issued its first-ever policy on autonomy in weapons systems, requiring that a human always be “in-the-loop” when decisions are made about using lethal force.


A Call to Engineers

On behalf of the International Committee for Robot Arms Control (ICRAC), roboticist Noel Sharkey has issued a call to engineers to “stand up and demand the prohibition of autonomous lethal targeting by robots.” In a piece published by The…


Losing Humanity report

On November 19, 2012, Human Rights Watch issued its report: “Losing Humanity: The Case Against Killer Robots.” The 50-page report outlines the organization’s concerns with fully autonomous weapons, which would be able to choose and fire on targets without human intervention.

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