Geneva killer robot side event

Killer Robot Side Event, Geneva, 16 May 2014
(Photo credit: @SassanGholiagha)

Pugwash President Jayantha Dhanapala joined the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots delegation to the Convention on Conventional Weapons meeting of experts on lethal autonomous weapons systems in  Geneva, 13-16 May 2014.  The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots group included 40 campaigners from 12 member NGOs in countries including Austria, Canada, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Switzerland, UK, and US. High-level representatives included Nobel Peace laureate Ms. Jody Williams and Ms. Yukie Osa, the president of Association for Aid and Relief Japan, the country’s largest humanitarian and disaster relief organization.  A report on the meeting is available here.

On Friday, 16 May, Dhanpala took part in a special side event at the UN, organized by the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, titled ‘The Way Forward.’ Other panelists included Jody Williams, Steve Goose (Human Rights Watch) and others.

Michael Møller, Acting Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva, to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) Meeting of Experts on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, said in a statement on 13 May, 

“I particularly appreciate the CCW’s open rules that allow for participation by United Nations organisations, the International Committee of the Red Cross, non-governmental organisations, experts and academics. With such open participation, there can be no better forum for addressing autonomous weapons.

“It would be remiss of me to not acknowledge the crucial work that has been carried out by the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots in bringing lethal autonomous weapons to the attention of States and into the United Nations. Within the Campaign, I wish to acknowledge the leadership of former Under-Secretary General for Disarmament, Dr. Jayantha Dhanapala, and Nobel Laureate, Ms. Jody Williams.

“This Meeting of Experts is only a first step towards addressing lethal autonomous weapons. In doing so, I urge delegates to take bold action. All too often international law only responds to atrocities and suffering once it has happened. You have the opportunity to take pre-emptive action and ensure that the ultimate decision to end life remains firmly under human control.”

See also:

Dhanapala radio interview, Australian Broadcasting Company, RN Drive, 15 May 2014: “Calls for ban on ‘killer’ robots in theatres of war”

Dhanapala, “A New Generation of Robots,” LMD, April 2013.