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Press release: Civil society joins together to encourage regional cooperation on banning killer robots

10 Dec 2019

Civil society joins together to encourage regional cooperation on banning killer robots

  • Campaign to Stop Killer Robots members and guests from eight Asian states (Afghanistan,
    Azerbaijan, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka) met in
    Islamabad, Pakistan on 9-10 December 2019 at the invitation of the Sustainable Peace and
    Development Organisation (SPADO) for a Regional Meeting on Lethal Autonomous Weapons
  • Delegates adopted a civil society declaration affirming the urgent need to foster greater
    regional cooperation by and between Asian states towards the goal of immediately launching
    negotiations of a new treaty to prohibit development, production, transfer, and use of fully
    autonomous weapons and retain meaningful human control over the use of force.

A regional meeting of the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots brought members of civil society, academia, and the media together in Islamabad to discuss the serious ethical, moral, technical, legal, proliferation, and security concerns raised by the ongoing development of fully autonomous weapons, also known as lethal autonomous weapons systems or killer robots.

In May 2013, Pakistan became the first nation to call for fully autonomous weapons to be prohibited, and it has repeatedly urged the creation of a new international ban instrument on these weapons. Pakistan has expressed multiple concerns with these weapons, finding that they will violate international humanitarian and human rights law as well as lower the threshold for going to war.

Delegates of the regional meeting discussed the importance of building regional cooperation between states and civil society across South and Central Asia. They were joined by leading experts from Pakistan, including Mr. Ahmer Bilal Soofi, Special Envoy of the Prime Minister of Pakistan and Founding President, Research Society of International Laws (RSIL); Ms. Saima Sayed, Director of Arms Control and Disarmament, Arms Control Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of Pakistan; Dr. Qibla Ayaz, Chairman Council of Islamic Ideology; and Brigadier (R) Azam Efendi. Campaign Outreach Manager for the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, Isabelle Jones said:

“We are grateful for Pakistan’s continued leadership in the efforts to ban fully autonomous weapons, and warmly welcome the efforts of civil society in South and Central Asia to promote greater regional cooperation on this issue.”

“It’s time for states in South and Central Asia to speak up in support of the inevitable treaty to ban killer robots. We must act quickly before technological development outpaces our ability to prevent the great humanitarian harm posed by fully autonomous weapons.”

Raza Shah Khan, CEO of Sustainable Peace and Development Organisation (SPADO) said: “We thank the government of Pakistan for their support in organising this historic meeting. The South Asian region cannot afford a new arms race in the area of fully autonomous weapons. Civil society must raise their voices to ban killer robots and promote greater regional peace and security.”

Spokespeople are available for comment in English and Urdu. For more information, please
contact: Raza Shah Khan: Tel/WhatsApp: +92 300 9598429, Email: [email protected]

The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots is a coalition of more than 130 nongovernmental organizations in more than 60 countries that is working to preemptively ban fully autonomous weapons and retain meaningful human control over the use of force.

Website: Twitter: @BanKillerRobots Facebook: @stopkillerrobots

Sustainable Peace And Development Organization (SPADO) is a non-political and non-government organization. Since its inception in 2002, SPADO aims at providing a peaceful environment to all human beings especially those living in poverty and marginalized communities, where they can utilize their potentials for sustainable development. Organization’s mission is a culture of Peace, Justice, Empowerment and Development based on the human values of ethics. SPADO is actively involved
in addressing the issues of peace, non-violence, mutual co-existence and arms control at national, regional and international levels. SPADO has actively contributed to various regional and international peace and disarmament initiatives both within and outside the United Nations system.

Website: Twitter: @SPADOorg Facebook:

Isabelle Jones

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