At the end of September Christian World Service joined others in presenting a petition to Phil Twyford, Minister of Disarmament and Arms Control. The petition asks Parliament to prohibit the development, production and use of lethal autonomous weapon systems also known as killer robots in Aotearoa New Zealand, and to support negotiations for a new treaty.
CWS strongly opposes the development of these new forms of weapons which rely on artificial intelligence to determine targets.
In speaking at the presentation over Zoom, National Director Murray Overton said,
“There are already too many ways to kill and maim people. Military expenditure is rising (last year US $1,981 billion or nearly US$2 trillion) and the international community has repeatedly proved itself unable to respond to increasingly complex conflicts. In supporting this petition, we ask our government to take immediate action against killer robots for Aotearoa, our Pacific neighbours and the world.”
The petition is now before the Foreign Affairs and Trade Select Committee for consideration. More information about the campaign which is coordinated by Peace Movement Aotearoa, can be found at: http://stopkillerrobots.org.nz/
October 25, 2021
Speech by Murray Overton
Kei to mihi nui ki a koutou. Greetings to everyone especially Minister Twyford and members of the Campaign ably led by Peace Movement Aotearoa.
Thank you to those who have campaigned against Killer Robots and organised this petition.
CWS has been part of the campaign to halt the development and production of these weapons of destruction as part of our deep and abiding commitment to peace. We promoted this issue in our Peace Sunday resources.
CWS was founded by our partner churches: Anglican, Christian Churches, Methodist and Presbyterian – and the Religious Society of Friends – as well as our loyal supporters who come from these churches and from many other places too.
Our partner churches are members of larger networks including the World Council of Churches that support ‘a pre-emptive ban on drones and other robotic weapons systems that will select and strike targets without human intervention when operating in fully autonomous mode’.
With our international development work and emergency assistance when disasters strike, we work closely with our local partners seeking peace in places where violence and conflict prevail. These include the likes of Palestine and South Sudan, where longstanding violence is confronted on a daily basis. Our goal is to seek justice for those in need and encourage a foundation of peace and cooperation in our development and humanitarian work.
We strongly oppose the use and development of autonomous weapons and encourage the New Zealand Government to use its diplomatic resources to advocate for a new international treaty to ban the development, production and use of lethal autonomous weapons, as well as prohibit the same in Aotearoa New Zealand.
There are already too many ways to kill and maim people. Military expenditure is rising (last year US $1,981 billion or nearly US$2 trillion) and the international community has repeatedly proved itself unable to respond to increasingly complex conflicts.
In supporting this petition, we ask our government to take immediate action in a stand against killer robots for Aotearoa, our Pacific neighbours and the world.
Murray Overton, National Director
In support of the petition presentation to Phil Twyford by the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots of which CWS is a member.
September 29, 2021