Earlier this week, the International Campaign to Stop Killer Robots officially launched in Canada. The occasion was marked with a public lecture on the dangers of ‘killer robots’, a press briefing and a parliamentary breakfast to engage policy makers in government.
Evidence suggests that robotic weapons, which do not require human operators, are already in development in China, Russia, South Korea, Israel, UK and the US. Experts argue that these weapons have unpredictable operating systems and relinquish human control and checks and balances in combat. The Campaign calls for a ban on these fully autonomous weapons.
The Stop Killer Robots Campaign is spearheaded by a coalition of 50 NGO’s including the Nobel Women’s Initiative, with Mines Action Canada taking the lead in the Canadian campaign.
The Canadian Campaign calls on the Canadian government to take a leadership role in calling for the international ban on fully autonomous weaponry. The Canadian government has denied that any research is being done on the subject for the Department of Defence.
In addition to calling for a national moratorium, the Campaign asks the Canadian government to remain transparent about weapons reviews and development, noting that most robotic weapon research has been conducted covertly.
“I think [governments] realize that if they don’t show interest and at least agree to a be a bit more transparent about the systems that are being developed, then that will increase suspicion, so it’s in their interest to be transparent,” said Mary Wareham, the Global Campaign Coordinator.
Canada, along with leading experts, will be present at an upcoming UN meeting in May discussing lethal autonomous weapons systems. Sign the petition below to join the global call urging the Canadian government to institute a national moratorium on fully autonomous weapons.
Say No to Killer Battlefield Robots, campaign urges Ottawa, The Globe & Mail, April 29, 2014.
Canada versus killer robots:Groups want federal government to lead charge against high-tech death machines, The Ottawa Citizen, April 29, 2014.
Keep Killer Robots Fictional (OP-ED), The Ottawa Citizen, April 27, 2014.