November 25, 2014

Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW): Nov. 13-14 Meetings and Beyond

By Matthew Seeley and Paul Scharre

The United Nations Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) met for the second time this year on November 13th and 14th in Geneva to discuss lethal autonomous weapons systems (LAWS).  The main purpose of the meeting was to chart out the CCW’s agenda for the spring of 2015, and the parties agreed to reconvene at the United Nations in Geneva for the tentative dates of April 13-17, 2015 to for another round of substantive discussions on LAWS.      

Non-governmental activists have called for a legally-binding treaty to ban so-called “killer robots.” International discussions have been underway at the CCW since May 2014 to better understand issues associated with increasing autonomy in weapon systems.

The CCW is comprised of 118 nations and serves as a forum for states to discuss regulations on weapons that cause unnecessary suffering or are inherently indiscriminate. Previous weapons regulated or banned under the CCW include blinding lasers, incendiary weapons, and non-x-ray-detectable fragments.

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