Strong call from OSCE countries to support the negotiations to ban lethal autonomous weapons

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On 8 July 2019, Parliamentarians from the 57 participating States of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) have adopted the Declaration on Advancing Sustainable Development to Promote Security (Luxembourg Declaration) negotiated during their annual Parliamentary Assembly in Luxembourg. This Declaration contains some very encouraging paragraphs, in particular the one on killer robots that was submitted by Katja Keul (Germany’s Green Member of Parliament ) with the support of other Members of Parliament from Germany, Liechtenstein and Switzerland:

The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly:

29. Urges participating States to support international negotiations to ban lethal autonomous weapons with a view to establishing international, legally binding rules;

Additionally, the Assembly calls on all participating States to sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) and to prioritise nuclear disarmament in national policies. Both the call on OSCE countries to sign the TPNW and to support negotiations to ban killer robots is surprising, as only six out of 57 participating States of the OSCE have signed the TPNW (Austria, Holy See, Ireland, Kazakhstan, Lichtenstein and San Marino) and only two seek to prohibit fully autonomous weapons (Austria and Holy See).

If the Luxembourg Declaration is non-binding on member parliaments, it does provides guidance and support to OSCE States to take action on the issues addressed. It is now time for governments to heed this pressing and sensitive proposal to ban lethal autonomous weapons.