This month marks five years since we launched the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots. We are a global coalition of more than 60 non-governmental organizations working to retain meaningful human control over the use of force by banning the development, production, and use of fully autonomous weapons. We started this effort due to our shared commitment to address the far-reaching and profound ethical, human rights, legal, operational, proliferation, technical, and other serious concerns raised by these weapons.

This month also marks the fifth time since 2014 that states, UN agencies, the ICRC, and our campaign have convened here at the United Nations in Geneva to consider the challenges raised by lethal autonomous weapons systems. We have spent the lead-up to this meeting talking to as many states as possible about the need to prepare and participate substantively in this Group of Governmental Experts.

We have also been doing our homework in the interim, preparing a Briefing Note to guide delegations. We would like to draw your attention to its three main recommendations:

  1. Commit to negotiate a legally-binding ban treaty without delay to draw the boundaries of future autonomy in weapon systems. We welcome the expressions of support for this objective this morning, including for this time from Austria and the African group of states;
  2. Specify the necessary human control required over the critical functions of selecting and engaging targets and over individual attacks. Be explicit that meaningful human control is required over individual attaks and that weapon systems that operate without such human control should be prohibited;
  3. Adopt national policy and legislation to prevent the development, production and use of fully autonomous weapons.

In our campaign’s view any measures less than new international law will not be to be effective, binding, or lasting. States must express their firm determination to avoid dehumanizing the use of force by moving to negotiate new international law now, without further delay.