Despite serious ethical and legal issues, some states including the UK, are pushing ahead with development of autonomous weapons.
Existing laws are insufficient to address the dangers of autonomy in weapon systems. A new international legal treaty is required to provide the necessary certainty and stability that is needed now and in the future.
The Stop Killer Robots Campaign is calling for parliamentarians to help persuade governments to work towards an international treaty that rejects the automation of killing and ensures meaningful human control over the use of force.
Here in the UK, the UK Campaign to Stop Killer Robots has helped to establish a cross-party group of parliamentarians who are concerned about growing autonomy in weapons systems. It includes parliamentarians from the four biggest UK political parties as well as religious leaders. Click here for a list of members of the group.
- Please contact your MP to ask them to oppose the development of Killer Robots and to join this cross-party group.
- Find your MP’s email address here although a handwritten letter will have more impact.
- You can cut and paste this draft message below or use your own words. Don’t forget to add your name and address.
Dear [name of MP],
I am writing to you as my Member of Parliament as I am increasingly concerned about the push towards the development of autonomous weapons often called ‘killer robots’.
Killer robots change the relationship between people and technology by handing over life and death decision making to machines. Autonomy in weapon systems diminishes the control of the human operator and undermines accountability and responsibility in conflict. There are real concerns about whether such systems would be able to comply with international human rights law and the international humanitarian law principles of distinction, proportionality, precaution and the prohibition of indiscriminate attacks.
After nine years of discussions on the issue at the United Nations, a growing consensus has emerged that new international law is needed to safeguard against the ethical, legal, and security risks posed by autonomous weapon systems.
Here, the UK Campaign to Stop Killer Robots has helped to establish an informal cross-party group of parliamentarians who are concerned about growing autonomy in weapons systems. Membership does not presume support for specific policy; it is simply a group with concerns about the growing levels of autonomy in weapons systems. The group receives commentary on international developments, briefings on UK policy, and invites to events – as well as acting as a platform for dialogue and information exchange. You can find further details here: https://una.org.uk/parliamentary-champions-action-autonomous-weapons. Please can I urge you to join this group? You can do so by contacting: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Like many others, I believe the UK must work with other states to solve this issue before the use of autonomous weapon systems proliferates, and before the threat they pose to the safety and security of the world becomes irreversible.
Thank you and I look forward to your response.
[Your Name and address]
We’d be grateful to see any reply.