WILPF statement to the UN Group of Governmental Experts on autonomous weapons

The following statement was delivered by Sylvie Ndongmo, Director of WILPF Cameroon, at the Group of Governmental Experts meeting on autonomous weapons in Geneva on 13 April 2018.

The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom is a member of the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots. Many of you many know us by the name of our disarmament programme, Reaching Critical Will. As a campaign member, we are in solidarity the points raised by the Campaign in its statement.

Independent from that however, we have over the last four and a half days, been listening closely to the statements made in the room including in order to provide monitoring and analysis, such as through our publication, the CCW Report. In the course of listening, it has become evident that that there is strong convergence and preference among states to move forward toward new international law, and to do so by the end of this year. In our view, that law should be a prohibition and ensure the principles of human control and international humanitarian law. As one delegation noted this morning, it is not often that, as a community of international disarmament and arms control practitioners, we have the opportunity to prevent future horrors. With autonomous weapons, we have that chance.

We also want to draw your attention to another issue, which was touched on this week by Canada, Ireland, and the European Union. This is the issue of gender analysis and women’s participation. It’s not hard to see the gender disparity represented in this room, which in our analysis, more stark than in other disarmament or arms control fora. In thinking ahead to the next GGE meeting we strongly encourage states to improve the participation of women on their delegations in a meaningful, and not tokenistic, way.

Thank you.