Less than one week after the launch of a new international Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, a new UN report has called for a moratorium on “Lethal Autonomous Robotics,” weapons that would be able to select and attack targets without any human intervention. Continue reading United Nations the next stop for killer robots
Something remarkable happened at the United Nations in New York on Thursday evening (March 28), when member states failed to adopt a long-sought treaty to regulate the arms trade. Politicians “deplored” the way in which agreement on the Arms Trade Treaty text had been “thwarted” by three of the world’s most abusive regimes: Iran, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), and Syria. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed “disappointment,” describing the failure as a “setback.”
Yet despite the bluster this apparent defeat is in reality a double-win for everyone in favour of the Arms Trade Treaty and working to advance humanitarian disarmament. It’s also a great example of how international law can be achieved when sustained civil society pressure ensures governments stick to the plan and do what they have committed to do. Continue reading Busting consensus while staying in the UN
On 4-5 March 2013, a highly-anticipated conference to consider the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons of governments was convened by Norway in Oslo. This write-up covers some of the highlights from this latest humanitarian disarmament initiative, which seeks to reframe the debate on nuclear weapons in humanitarian terms and initiate swift action by like-minded states in support of the abolition of nuclear weapons. Continue reading The humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons
2013 looks set to be a busy year (as always) for the community of governments and non-state actors seeking to advance humanitarian disarmament, with events including the final Arms Trade Treaty negotiations, a conference to consider the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons, and the launch of a new campaign to stop killer robots. They take place against a backdrop of continued conflict and armed violence in several countries, decreasing aid levels (including for humanitarian mine action), and a perpetually ‘broken’ United Nations (UN) disarmament machinery. Continue reading Advancing humanitarian disarmament in 2013
On 16 January 2013, representatives of French NGOs working in the field of humanitarian disarmament held a day-long seminar in Paris to discuss on this new approach to international diplomacy and campaigning. Panel discussions looked at lessons learned and challenges ahead, impacts of the campaigns to ban landmines and cluster bombs, and France’s role. Continue reading Le désarmement humanitaire en France
On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, 90 representatives from non-governmental organizations and global coalitions gathered in New York for a Humanitarian Disarmament Campaigns Summit convened by Human Rights Watch. The Summit Communiqué issued by 31 signatories calls for strong disarmament initiatives driven by humanitarian imperatives to strengthen international law and protect civilians. The Communiqué was delivered to the United Nations High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Ms. Angela Kane and distributed to government representatives attending the UN General Assembly First Committee on Disarmament and International Security.
A PDF of the Communiqué is available in English and French. The full text and list of signatories is also reprinted below. Continue reading Humanitarian Disarmament Campaigns Summit
On Monday disarmament diplomats are convening in the basement of the United Nations in New York to discuss arms transfers for the second time this summer, this time for the Second Review Conference of the 2001 UN Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and All Its Aspects. Continue reading A decade on, any action on arms transfers ?
Australia’s long-awaited ratification of the Convention on Cluster Munitions came a step closer on Tuesday, 21 August 2012, when the Senate approved legislation to implement the convention. The Criminal Code Amendment (Cluster Munitions Prohibition) Bill 2010 passed the Senate by a vote of 29 to 10 and is expected to be signed into law shortly. Then Australia will deposit its instrument of ratification to the Convention on Cluster Munitions with the United Nations in New York, possibly in advance of the convention’s Third Meeting of States Parties, which opens in Oslo, Norway on 11 September 2012. Continue reading Weak law sets bad precedent on cluster bombs
Survivors or “Hibakusha” of the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II are now aged in their 80s and 90s, but they are still traveling the world to promote their call for a nuclear-free Japan and for the abolition of nuclear weapons. Over the past week, New Zealanders have marked the 67th anniversary of Hiroshima and Nagasaki with a speakers tour by two visiting Hibakusha: Ms. Shigeko Sasamori and Mr. Michimasa (Michi) Hirata. Continue reading Leadership requested on nuclear weapons ban
On Friday evening (27 July 2012) at precisely the same time as the spectacle of the Olympics opening ceremony was kicking off in London, across the Atlantic in the basement of the United Nations another spectacle was unfolding as talks aimed at regulating arms transfers collapsed. The president of diplomatic negotiations tasked with concluding the proposed Arms Trade Treaty, Ambassador Roberto García Moritán of Argentina, declared defeat and closed the conference without adopting the final treaty text, stating, ”I take full responsibility, and apologize deeply for not having brought you to a better ending.” Continue reading Draft arms trade treaty moves on, but where?