30 countries support explicit ban on 'killer robots': Report

WION Web Team New Delhi, India Aug 11, 2020, 10.48 AM(IST)

A mock "killer robot" is pictured in central London on April 23, 2013 during the launching of the Campaign to Stop "Killer Robots," which calls for the ban of lethal robot weapons that would be able to select and attack targets without any human intervent Photograph:( AFP )

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The weapons in question will be capable of inflicting mass casualties without human intervention.

30 countries have backed the plan to fully ban autonomous weapons, or as they’re more commonly called - “killer robots”, a report by Human Rights Watch has revealed.

The weapons in question will be capable of inflicting mass casualties without human intervention.

97 countries have acknowledged such weapons

The report was released by the watch group on Monday, and was based on a review of policies from 97 countries that have publicly acknowledged such weapons. This issue was first taken up at the Human Rights Council in 2013.

According to the report titled "Stopping Killer Robots: Country Positions on Banning Fully Autonomous Weapons and Retaining Human Control”, more and more countries are acknowledging the need to stop “killer robots”, formally categorised as lethal autonomous weapon system.

A coalition of 161 non-governmental organisations including the HRW has been pleading for a complete ban on such weapons since 2013.

Weapons systems that select and engage targets without meaningful human control are unacceptable and need to be prevented," HRW said.

People look a mock "killer robot" in central London on April 23, 2013 during the launching of the Campaign to Stop "Killer Robots," which calls for the ban of lethal robot weapons that would be able to select and attack targets without any human intervention. The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots calls for a pre-emptive and comprehensive ban on the development, production, and use of fully autonomous weapons.
People look a mock "killer robot" in central London on April 23, 2013 during the launching of the Campaign to Stop "Killer Robots," which calls for the ban of lethal robot weapons that would be able to select and attack targets without any human intervention. The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots calls for a pre-emptive and comprehensive ban on the development, production, and use of fully autonomous weapons. | AFP
 

"Grave threat to humanity"

"Removing human control from the use of force is now widely regarded as a grave threat to humanity that, like climate change, deserves urgent multilateral action," said Mary Wareham, the coordinator of the “Campaign to Stop Killer Robots”.

"An international ban treaty is the only effective way to deal with the serious challenges raised by fully autonomous weapons," Wareham added.

"All countries have a duty to protect humanity from this dangerous development by banning fully autonomous weapons. Retaining meaningful human control over the use of force is an ethical imperative, a legal necessity, and a moral obligation", the organisation added.

Many countries are calling for a ban on such weapons. These are: Algeria, Argentina, Austria, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, China (only on using them), Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Djibouti, Ecuador, El Salvador, Egypt, Ghana, Guatemala, the Holy See, Iraq, Jordan, Mexico, Morocco, Namibia, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, the State of Palestine, Uganda, Venezuela, and Zimbabwe.

Major military hubs like Russia and the United States have halted the progress towards banning such weapons. At the same time, both the countries have upped investment in artificial intelligence for military purposes besides developing autonomous weapons systems for land, water, and air.

Warhem shed light on the “existential threats to humanity”, including “killer robots”.