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PRESS RELEASE: States weigh step toward banning killer robots

12-12-2016

This week, the international community will have the chance to move towards a ban on the development and use of killer robots. Under UN auspices, the 123 states party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) are meeting in Geneva for a five-year review and to set the agenda for the upcoming period.

PAX urges the convention to take the next step in preventing lethal autonomous weapons, also known as killer robots, to be developed let alone used.

In development
Killer robots are weapons systems that once activated will be able to select and attack targets without meaningful human control. The technology required to produce killer robots is developing quickly. China, Russia, Israel, the United States and the United Kingdom are amongst those countries developing weapons systems with increasing levels of autonomy. A development that PAX is deeply concerned about for legal, security and, predominantly, ethical reasons. 

“This is a chance to prevent the world from sleepwalking into the next generation of warfare. Time is running out – we’re at the cusp of dramatic changes in how we wage war. We need to stay ahead of these changes,” says Miriam Struyk, senior policy advisor at PAX.

Keep human control
Over the past few years, 14 countries have called for a ban and at least 70 countries have expressed concerns about these weapons. Now they will have the chance to turn those concerns into action and initiate a process to ensure that meaningful human control over the critical functions of these systems is guaranteed.

PAX – co founder of the international Campaign to Stop Killer Robots -- is calling on all states at the review conference to create a Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) that will get together in 2017 for at least 4 weeks and pave the way for negotiations on a new protocol retaining meaningful human control of weapons systems.

Any decision at the CCW must be unanimous -- it only takes one state to block it. The decision on whether or not to form a Group of Governmental Experts will be made on Friday, 16 December. PAX and other members of the international Campaign to Stop Killer Robots will be present at the UN in Geneva from 12 – 16 December.

For more information, please contact:

John Tyler, Press Officer, +31 (0)6 5790 1402

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