Keep ‘Killer Robots’ Out of Warfare

Unmanned Aircraft

Target: Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon of the United Nations

Goal: Ban the use of fully autonomous weapons during war

The United Nations recently gathered at a multilateral meeting on the subject of using fully autonomous weapons in war or enforcement. Human rights organizations are protesting the use of these weapons, as they violate basic human rights, and support needs to be garnered to prevent the use of them in the near future.

A 26 page report from Human Rights Watch detailed the consequences of what would happen and has happened should a country deploy fully autonomous weapons. These weapons would threaten rights and principles under international law, along with the right to life, the right to remedy, and the principle of dignity. There has been much international debate about these weapons acknowledging the laws of war, and what role they would play during armed conflict.

All national bodies should ban these weapons, because they are able to fire and kill without meaningful human intervention. Humans would have very little chance of escaping without injury or loss of life should these weapons be used. There is also the chance that these weapons could kill the wrong person, as they cannot be programmed to handle all situations. It is also not justified to send out robots to kill people when the robots themselves do not understand what it means to take a life. There is concern about the accountability of such killings – would the programmer, officer, or manufacturer be held responsible for murder? Unfortunately, nations are already pursuing these kinds of weapons, and the United States is possibly the greatest example.

117 countries have met to discuss the effects of fully autonomous weapons and will begin work on the issue later in 2014. If all countries agree that these weapons pose a huge threat, then it is likely that an international treaty will be drawn to ban these robots. Sign this petition and urge the United Nations to ensure these robots never enter combat or be in charge of enforcement.


Dear Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon,

Recently, there was a multilateral meeting between 117 countries, where they discussed the topic of fully autonomous weapons. Human rights organizations are urging all countries to ban the use of these weapons as they violate various human rights, notably the right to life. If such weapons were to be deployed, they would lack the reasoning and emotional capacity that humans have, and would only escalate conflicts.

I am writing to urge you to ensure that these weapons are forever banned during war time and enforcement. These weapons are not programmed to respond to every situation; only humans are capable of this. These weapons also do not understand what it means to take a life and therefore would be extremely dangerous. War is already filled with death suffering, I beg you not to make it more so.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Lt col Leslie Pratt

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  1. Stephen Bartlett-Ré says:

    Killer robots threaten all humanity. They ensure an end to all human beings since, like drones, they could be used by any group or any person for any purpose.

  2. Stan Benton says:

    And here I thought that the American “Murder by Drone” program was as bad as it could get.

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