The following reflection is from Magnolia Garcia Garcia, a Pace University undergraduate who participated in the POL297L Global Politics of Disarmament and Arms Control class in Fall 2021. Students were given service learning assignments with disarmament advocacy organizations working in and around the UN and New York City. Magnolia’s assignment was with the network of organizations that planned the 2021 Humanitarian Disarmament Forum on Race and Intersectionality.
The 2021 Humanitarian Disarmament Forum (HDF) focused on intersectionality, specifically regarding race and racism in the humanitarian disarmament community. Working with the amazing planning team of the event was rewarding and fulfilling. The members of this team included Hayley, Isabelle, Farah, Ousman, and Clare, some of them working with the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots and others with Soka Gakkai International.
There were many things that this civic engagement experience taught me about myself, the disarmament process, and international politics.
A new paper co-authored by Dr. Matthew Bolton of Pace University’s International Disarmament Institute, argues for a legally-binding instrument on lethal autonomous weapons systems (LAWS). There is a need both for a legally-binding prohibition of certain autonomous weapons and for strong positive obligations to ensure meaningful human control of the use of force rooted in International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law. The Alliance for Multilateralism has endorsed voluntary Guiding Principles on LAWS. Its Member States should now lead the Principles’ upgrade towards more robust international agreements. One venue for this could be an additional protocol to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW).
The paper, published by Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, is available for download here.
Side event on killer robots at the UN, 18 October 2016. Photo courtesy of UNODA.
Director of Pace University’s International Disarmament Institute Matthew Bolton chaired a side event on autonomous weapons systems — “killer robots” — during the UN General Assembly First Committee 18 October 2016.
The event featured Ambassador Tehmina Janjua of Pakistan, chair of the upcoming Review Conference of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW); Mary Wareham, coordinator of the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots; Stuart Russell, Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of California at Berkeley; and Steve Goose, executive director of Human Rights Watch’s Arms Division.
Panelists raised concerns about the security, humanitarian and human rights implications of growing autonomy in weapons systems.
To learn more about the event, read the write-up by the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs or this flyer from the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots.