Killer Robots

Concerns are increasing over the potential impact of fully autonomous weapons under human rights law, which applies during peacetime as well as armed conflict. Nations are expected to consider the matter at the next session of the Human Rights Council at the United Nations in Geneva, which opens on 10 June. The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots is convening a briefing on “human rights, disarmament, and killer robots” at the UN on June 11 – see the Flyer.

The UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Professor Christof Heyns, is due to present his latest report (A -HRC-26-36) to the the Human Rights Council on 12 June recommending that the body “remain seized” with the issue of autonomous weapons systems and “make its voice heard as the international debate unfolds.” According to the report, fully autonomous weapons pose “far-reaching potential implications” to human rights, specifically the rights to life and dignity. The possibility that the weapons will be used in circumstances outside of armed conflict requires broad consideration by all actors in any fora and the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots supports the report’s conclusion that the weapons must remain on the agenda of the Human Rights Council to ensure that the human rights perspective is considered.

It remains to be seen if nations speaking on the topic at the Human Rights Council on 12 June will propose any specific action. Several countries have indicated their willingness to address the matter in more than one forum…

(previously || 2013 UN report)
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