Breakthrough: Dutch parliament calls for international rules on killer robots

Image: Beeld uit de animatiefilm Stop Killer Robots.

May 15, 2019

The Dutch Parliament adopted a resolution on 14 May that calls for binding international rules on new weapons technologies, including autonomous weapons or killer robots. The resolution was proposed by government party VVD and was supported by all but 1 parties in the parliament. It calls on the Dutch government to boost a treaty on these types of weapons. PAX is excited about this resolution and the clear signal it sends to the Dutch government.

It is highly important the Dutch parliament is now taking action on the issue. Killer Robots are autonomous weapons systems that can selection and attack target objects without meaningful human control. This means that the weapon system can use lethal violence without direct instructions from a human. There are several ethical, legal and security concerns about these weapons (read more here). Together with the international Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, PAX is calling on states to adopt a preventive prohibition on the development, production and use of killer robots as soon as possible. In other words: an internal treaty that guarantees meaningful human control over the selection and attack of target objects.


The support for such a treaty is growing internationally. UN Secretary General UN António Guterres said recently that “Autonomous machines with the power and discretion to select targets and take lives without human involvement are politically unacceptable, morally repugnant and should be prohibited by international law. In September 2018, the European parliament adopted a resolution calling for steps towards an international ban on killer robots. And in Belgium, the parliament adopted a resolution in 2018 calling for a prohibition on the use of these weapons.

Netherlands should work towards a ban

PAX hopes the Dutch government will heed the call of the parliament and starts working constructively towards a ban in the UN. The technology required to make killer robots is developing at lightning speed, and every day the importance of action to prevent these weapons from becoming a reality is growing.

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