A Civil society group, international action network on small arms, otherwise known as “women network” has called on ECOWAS member-states to ban killer robots in the West African sub-region.A resolution to this effect was reached as some stakeholders in ECOWAS member-states met at a roundtable this Tuesday in Abuja, the Nigerian capital to sensitize the public on the existence of killer robots and their danger to lives and property. With technology advancing globally, the hunger for the application of artificial intelligence continues to grow with the design and manufacture of devices, some of which are harmful to mankind. One of them is robot killers, a weapon that is already posing serious threat to national and regional security in Africa. Speaking on the dangers of killer robots, the national focal person for IANSA, Mimidoo Achapa says the roundtable meeting hopes to create awareness with a view to addressing urgent ethical, legal, moral, operational and societal challenges likely arise from the proliferation and application of the weapon.
Other Stakeholders speak further on why killer robots need to be banned in ECOWAS member-states, noting that the weapon constitutes great danger to regional security with implications on the quest for world peace.The campaign to stop killer robots is a deliberate move by the international action network for small arms to protect the African continent and its surrounding communities. The group also disclosed the overview of the roundtable as follow, to Stop Killer Robots and the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) Introduction. The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots Formed in October 2012, the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots is a coalition of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that is working to ban fully autonomous weapons and thereby retain meaningful human control over the use of force.The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots monitors the positions of countries on the call to ban fully autonomous weapons.
The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots is a growing global coalition of 129 international, regional, and national non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in 60 countries that is working to preemptively ban fully autonomous weapons.On 9 April 2018, a group of African states recommended concluding a legally binding instrument “at the earliest” and found that “fully autonomous weapons systems or LAWS that are not under human control should be banned.”A March 2018 working paper by the Non-Aligned Movement calls for a “legally binding international instrument stipulating prohibitions and regulations on lethal autonomous weapons systems.” NAM and its 125 member states have continued to call for a ban since 2018 and the campaign encourages national statements arming support for this goalThe Steering Committee The Steering committee is the campaign’s principal leadership and decision-making body that work internationally. It is comprised of – Six international NGOsHuman Rights Watch which serves as coordinator of the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots Amnesty International Article 36 (UK)Association for Aid and Relief Japan International Committee for Robot Arms Control Mines Action Canada- One regional NGO network Nobel Women’s Initiative, and- OTHER INTERNATIONAL NGOsPAX (Netherlands) Pugwash Conferences on Science & World A BairsSeguridad Humana en Latinoamerica y el CaribeWomen’s International League for Peace and FreedomWho wants to ban killer robots? Thirty (30) countries are calling for a prohibition on fully autonomous weapons:1. Pakistan on 30 May 20132. Ecuador on 13 May 20143. Egypt on 13 May 20144. Holy See on 13 May 20145. Cuba on 16 May 20146. Ghana on 16 April 20157. Bolivia on 17 April 20158. State of Palestine on 13 November 20159. Zimbabwe on 12 November 201510. Algeria on 11 April 201611. Costa Rica on 11 April 201612. Mexico on 13 April 201613. Chile on 14 April 201614. Nicaragua on 14 April 201615. Panama on 12 December 2016Who wants to ban killer robots? cont’d – 16. Peru on 12 December 2016- 17. Argentina on 12 December 2016- 18. Venezuela on 13 December 2016- 19. Guatemala on 13 December 2016- 20. Brazil on 13 November 2017- 21. Iraq on 13 November 2017- 22. Hug and on 17 November 2017- 23. Austria on 9 April 2018- 24. China* on 13 April 2018 (* China states that its call is to ban the use of fully autonomous weapons, but not their development or production.)- 25. Djibouti on 13 April 2018- 26. Colombia on 13 April 2018- 27. El Salvador on 22 November 2018- 28. Morocco on 22 November 2018- 29.Jordan on 21 August 2019- 30.Namibia on 24 October 2019Who wants to ban killer robots? cont’dParliamentary Bodies /ExpertsPARLIAMENTARY BODIES (4)The European ParliamentThe parliamentary assembly of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)The Dutch ParliamentThe Belgian Parliamentary Defence CommitteeEXPERTS António Guterres – Secretary General of the United Nations Christof Heyns – Former UN Special Rapporteur on extra judicial, summary or arbitrary executions Jody Williams – Nobel Peace Laureate And recently A total number of 26 Nobel Peace Laureates endorsed the call to ban killer robots through a 2014 open letter calling for a ban on killer robots.A communique was issued at the end of the stakeholder meeting…Communique issued at a one day meeting on Killer Robots in Abuja on the 19thNovember 2019Representatives of ECOWAS member countries, the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Defence,media other civil society organizations, met in Abuja, Nigeria, on the 19th November 2019,to share knowledge and evidence on the distinctive pattern of harm caused to humans by theuse of killer robots, and to explore urgent steps to address this harm at a political,administrative and operational levels. The purpose of the meeting and objectives is to build awareness among ECOWAS member States and all relevant stakeholders; to solicit support towards the operational/political commitment to the campaign to stop killer robots. The following countries are currently calling for a ban on Killer Robots, with Algeria,Namibia, Egypt and Ghana being the only African countries.Algeria, Argentina, Austria, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba,Djibouti, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ghana, Guatemala, Holy See, Iraq, Jordan, Mexico.Morocco. Nicaragua. Pakistan, Panama, Peru, State of Palestine, Uganda, Venezuela,Zimbabwe, Namibia. Representatives have expressed concern that fully autonomous weapons, also known as“Killer Robots” would be able to select and engage targets without human intervention and can cause deaths, injuries and traumas to human victims, damage and destroy essential infrastructure and critical services, drive forced displacement, pose a threat in the long term,disrupt socio-economic activities and potentially compromise human security. In their exchanges, the participants noted that a machine should never be allowed to make the decision over life and death, and concluded that the involvement of African States, Media,Civil Societies and other relevant stakeholders can play a pivotal role in enhancing theprotection of civilians and other citizens from the harm caused by fully autonomous weapons in a time when armed conflicts are increasingly fought in population centers. Furthermore, fully autonomous weapons systems will fundamentally destabilize nations around the world. History will note which political leaders recognized the gravity of this threat and took legislative action and those that did not. We must avoid the human sufferings that will occur if killer robots are deployed. The participants acknowledged the need for further actions to address this issue at national,regional and international levels, inter alia: Encourage collection of data and information to increase awareness and enhance knowledge about the impact of fully autonomous weapons on humans;Avoid the use of fully autonomous weapons with wide area effects at all levels; Fully support the process that will lead to the negotiation and adoption of an international political declaration on the use of killer robots; Promote bilateral and regional cooperation through sharing experiences, good practices and expertise on reducing the harm caused by killer robots to humans; Constructively engage in discussions and initiatives at international level that coulv effectively provide greater protection to humans in armed conflicts;Foster deeper and further engagement from ECOWAS States and facilitate increased involvement as a group of States; Continue and strengthen cooperation and partnerships with international organizations and civil society organizations to draw upon their relevant expertise and support; Channel contributions to the draft international political declaration on the matter, as well as engage in advocacy, at national, regional and international levels. Th Global Agenda for Total Emancipation (GATE)
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