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General News of Saturday, 28 August 2021

Source: GNA

Government urged to act swiftly to prevent 'killer robots' development

Group photo of stakeholders who attended seminar on impact of 'killer robots' in Marfokrom Group photo of stakeholders who attended seminar on impact of 'killer robots' in Marfokrom

The International Humanitarian Relief and Rescue Initiative (IHRRI), a non-governmental organisation (NGO) has called on the government to take immediate steps to prevent the development of fully autonomous weapons known as “killer robots” in the country.

It said some years ago, military and robotics experts predicted that killer robots could be developed to identify, select and attack targets without human intervention and could undermine the protection of civilians during armed conflict.

“The killer robots are just around the corner. We must act now before it’s too late,” the IHRRI said.

Mr Godwin Onogwu, the Project Manager of (IHRRI) made the call in an interview with the Ghana News Agency after a seminar organised by the NGO to create awareness of the killer robots among the people of Marfokrom in the Ayensuano District of the Eastern Region.

The seminar, on the theme: “STOP KILLER ROBOTS now!” was also aimed at whipping up a campaign against the development of killer robots.

Mr Onogwu said the fully autonomous weapons would not meet the International Humanitarian Law standards, which include the rules of distinction, proportionality, and military necessity, adding that these robots would lack qualities that relate to humans and applying the human judgment necessary to comply with the law.

“They would not have feelings and compassion, which can provide an essential check on the killings of civilians,” he said, and that; “The use of killer robots might make going to war easier, shifting the burden of armed conflict onto civilians.”

The Project Manager said as the killer robot technology was being developed and that international and national lawmakers must create a legal framework to limit its applications.

Mr Onogwu said the use of fully autonomous weapons raises serious questions of accountability because it was not clear who should be held responsible for any unlawful acts they committed.

Dr Ms Ayo Ayoola Amale, the President of WILPF Ghana and the National Coordinator of the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, stressed the need for everyone to support the campaign to save lives, especially women, girls, the vulnerable, and the youth.

“That the killer robots would not end sexual violence in conflicts but would likely perpetuate it, as the fully autonomous weapons would not question an order to rape if programmed to do so,” she said.

Mr Arthur Emmanuel, the Ghana Country Representatives of Eds. World Inc. said the production of autonomous weapons by China, South Korea, Russia, and the United States could only stop if developing countries like Ghana sign the International Treaty to Ban Killer Robots.

Nana Adu Larbi Omankrado of Marfokrom who chaired the function appealed to IHRRI to continue with the campaign so that the concerns of the people get to their representatives in Parliament for them to take conclusive decision to prevent the development of the killer robots to save lives.

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