At the end of July, the Group of Governmental Experts failed to make meaningful progress on the global effort to ban lethal autonomous weapons or Killer Robots. Negotiations take place under the auspices of the United Nations Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW).
The majority of participating states support the development of an international legal instrument to maintain meaningful human control over weapons, but a small group of the most militarised states continues to block substantive agreement.
Any details on measures to control autonomous weapons discussed in the second and final meetings of the year were removed after pressure from this group. Producing a watered-down report that only affirmed international humanitarian law, acknowledged some ethical concerns and recognised that states are responsible to act in accordance with international law.
Stop Killer Robots campaign says there is increasing evidence of the use of autonomous weapon systems in contemporary conflicts. It is campaigning for the development of international legally binding rules to stop their use, but after nine years of negotiating through the CCW it is suggesting that another forum might be necessary.
The New Zealand Government is supporting an international treaty.
CWS is a member of the Aotearoa New Zealand Campaign to Stop Killer Robots and the Campaign on Military Spending as part of its commitment to stopping violence and promoting peace. For more resources, see here.
The 10th review of the Non-proliferation Treaty runs from 1-26 August in New York. The New Zealand delegation includes Phil Twyford, the Minister of Disarmament and Arms Control, two MPs – one each from government and opposition as well as diplomatic staff. The Treaty prohibits its 186 state parties from ever acquiring nuclear weapons and obliges its 5 nuclear-armed states (China, France, Russia, UK, USA) to pursue nuclear disarmament. The Treaty does not outlaw weapons, prohibit their use, or set out a timeline for nuclear abolition.
However, the new Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons signed or ratified by over 90 states including New Zealand has come into effect. It is hoped that this grouping will be able to mobilise new support for nuclear disarmament as threats to global peace mount. The Doomsday clock measuring the threats to the planet and humanity was set at 100 seconds before midnight earlier this year.
August 1, 2022