1677324926 Latin America is aware of the need quoturgentquot Autonomous weapons

Latin America is aware of the need "urgent" Autonomous weapons legislation

Semi-automatic weapons photographed at the Lucerne Arms Fair in Switzerland on March 29, 2019 afp_tickers This content was published on February 25, 2023 – 00:59 February 25, 2023 – 00:59 (AFP)

Representatives of 33 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean stressed on Friday in Costa Rica the “urgent” need to enshrine in international law the ban and limitation of autonomous weapons – such as drones or automated weapons – to ensure their human control.

These weapons, as defined by the International Committee of the Red Cross, are those “that select targets and use force without human intervention.”

In a statement, the countries called for “promoting the urgent negotiation of a legally binding international instrument” to “regulate (with bans and regulations (…) the (autonomous) weapon systems”.

The debate took place in the city of Heredia, near San José, during the “Latin American and Caribbean Conference on the Impact of Autonomous Weapons”.

Over two days, representatives from regional governments, international institutions and organizations, NGOs, experts and civil society addressed the importance of the human factor in the use of a weapon.

This is established by the Geneva Convention signed in 1949 at the end of World War II, a kind of “rules of war”.

However, the use of artificial intelligence and algorithms that learn from experience allow weapons to be configured that can make their own decisions about what is and isn’t a target, without the need for human judgment.

– International legislation –

The High Representative of the United Nations for Disarmament Affairs, Izumi Nakamitsu, pointed out in a planned video that for nine years attempts have been made in vain to create a regulatory framework in this regard.

At least 82 member states have spoken out against it within the United Nations.

“This will ensure that it is applied within the framework of international law and that people remain accountable for decisions about the use of force,” the UN official said.

Nakamitsu said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned of “serious humanitarian, legal and ethical concerns that these systems raise” if a protocol to regulate them is not reached.

– “Humanitarian Priority” –

Currently, the United Nations has documented only one case of the use of this type of weapon: the use of Turkish drones in the 2020 conflict in Libya, “which had a fairly large autonomy capacity.”

According to experts consulted by AFP, the main developers of this type of autonomous weapon are the United States and Russia.

Mirjana Spoljaric, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross, asked the conference whether one can tolerate “a world where conscious decisions about human life are replaced by automatic calculations”.

“These issues represent an urgent humanitarian priority today,” added Spoljaric, who called for a ban on this type of weapon.