Brot für die Welt - Evangelischer Entwicklungsdienst hat die "Interfaith Declaration in support of a ban on fully autonomous weapons" unterzeichnet. Der von Pax Niederlande initiierte Aufruf wendet sich an alle Glaubensgemeinschaften und fordert dazu auf, sich gegen die Entwicklung, die Produktion und den Einsatz von vollautomatischen Waffensystemen einzusetzen. Im Folgenden kann der Text des Aufrufs (englisch/französisch/spanisch) heruntergeladen werden. Des Weiteren findet sich das Hintergrundpapier "Deadly Decisions" von Pax Niederlande zum download.
IN SUPPORT OF A BAN ON FULLY AUTONOMOUS WEAPONS
Throughout history, people have been killed by gunfire, maimed by mines and have experienced the
devastating effects of bombs. The nature of war continues to change. Now, technology is changing not
only how war is fought, but the very identity of who fights it. States are developing machines into
fully autonomous weapons (so called killer robots) with the ability to select and engage targets without
human intervention, allowing life and death decisions to be made by machines. A decision with such
grave consequences should never be made by a machine. Robotic warfare is an affront to human
dignity and to the sacredness of life.
Although fully autonomous weapons do not yet exist, military and policy documents indicate a clear
trend towards autonomously functioning weapon systems. This development poses a grave threat to
civilians in conflict areas and raises serious moral, ethical and legal concerns.
Contemporary warfare is no longer fought on conventional battlefields and often takes place in
populated areas. Fully autonomous weapons will be unable to distinguish properly between
combatants and civilians, neither will they understand human motives and intentions. In the complex
and dynamic circumstances of a battlefield fully autonomous weapons will not be able to make sound
judgments. Therefore, fully autonomous weapons will pose a serious threat to civilians in conflict and
will pose a fundamental challenge to international humanitarian law, particularly regarding the rules of
distinction and proportionality.
Given the nature of fully autonomous weapons, it is inevitable that they will at some point kill or
injure civilians. When that happens, it seems that no one can be held accountable. The weapon itself
has no moral agency and, as a result, cannot be held responsible if they take an innocent life. A robot
does not feel guilt or regret, you cannot put it in prison or hold it accountable for its actions. But also
the programmer, the manufacturer or the military commander cannot be held legally responsible for
crimes committed by an autonomously functioning weapon. This accountability gap should be
considered immoral and abhorrent.
Autonomous weapons will make it easier for leaders to go to war, because they will shift risks away
from a nation’s own soldiers. However, due to the nature of fully autonomous weapons the risk of
civilian casualties will increase.
On 28 April 2013, an international coalition of non-governmental organizations launched the
Campaign to Stop Killer Robots to raise awareness about the implications of fully autonomous
weapons and to call for a comprehensive, pre-emptive ban on fully autonomous weapons. Whereas
other weapons were only banned after their use showed to have grave humanitarian consequences, we
now have a chance to stop these atrocious weapons before they enter the battlefield. Similar to the
development of the nuclear weapon, fully autonomous weapons will be a weapon we will wish we had
prevented. In the past, religious leaders showed their commitment to take action against other heinous
weapons such as cluster munitions and anti-personnel mines. Now, it is time to take a stand against
fully autonomous weapons. Therefore,
we, as religious leaders, faith groups and faith-based organizations, raise our collective voice to
call on all governments to participate in the international debate on the issue, and to work
towards a ban on the development, production and use of fully autonomous weapons.
This is a chance for all involved to take a stand, to uphold human dignity, and to promote peace.