Futureproofing Is Never Complete: Ensuring the Arms Trade Treaty Keeps Pace with New Weapons Technology

Posted on 19 October 2013 by mbolton

In a new working paperInternational Committee for Robot Arms Control (ICRAC) members Matthew Bolton (Pace University) and Wim Zwijnenburg (IKV Pax Christi) stress the importance of making sure states control new weapons technologies, including robotic weapons, when the Arms Trade Treatyenters into force. It outlines strategies for civil society (such as the Control Arms campaign) and concerned states to counter potential arguments from states or manufacturers acting in bad faith, who may claim erroneously that the treaty will not apply to robotic weapons. We recommend that civil society and concerned states:

  1. Unequivocally assert that the Arms Trade Treaty Scope includes both manned and unmanned conventional arms,
  2. Build on the recent clarifications by the Group of Governmental Experts of the UN Register of Conventional Arms of the categories of weapons borrowed by the Arms Trade Treaty in its Scope. The Group authoritatively defined the categories as including armed aerial drones,
  3. Develop and promote comprehensive National Control Lists of the weapons to be controlled by states party to the Arms Trade Treaty,
  4. Influence the interpretation of the Arms Trade Treaty through careful monitoring and calling out states acting in bad faith, and
  5. Build connections between the community working on the Arms Trade Treaty (such as Control Arms) and those working on related campaigns (such as the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots) and control regimes (such as the UN RegisterMissile Technology Control Regime, the Wassenaar Arrangement and dual-use equipment control programs).

Click here to read the full paper.

ICRAC is an international committee of experts in robotics technology, robot ethics, international relations, international security, arms control, international humanitarian law, human rights law, and public campaigns, concerned about the pressing dangers that military robots pose to peace and international security and to civilians in war.

Matthew Bolton, PhD, comes to Dyson College from the international humanitarian and development sector, where he has worked with several non-profits and UNICEF in over a dozen countries, including Bosnia, Iraq, Kenya and Uganda. Dr. Bolton joined the New York faculty in the Political Science department in January and is teaching classes in international relations. He will also take over as Model United Nations advisor in the fall. He brings first-hand experience to the classroom. Before joining Pace University, most recently he was the emergency coordinator and acting chief of mission for Outreach International’s educational program in Haiti, where he oversaw the response to the 2010 earthquake and the expansion of the program’s annual funding tenfold. Dr. Bolton’s PhD thesis, from the London School of Economics and Political Science, explored the politics behind the allocation and implementation of foreign aid for the clearance of landmines by the U.S. and Norway for demining in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Sudan. His research, rooted in ethnographic fieldwork, focuses on global public and private provision of security and social services in conflicted countries. He has a Master’s in Development Studies, also from the LSE, and a BA(Hons) majoring in history and religion from Graceland University in Lamoni, IA. Dr. Bolton has written two books: Foreign Aid and Landmine Clearance: Governance, Politics and Security in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Sudan (published by I.B. Tauris) and Apostle of the Poor: The Life and Work of Missionary and Humanitarian Charles D. Neff (published by John Whitmer Books). He writes a weekly column on international and social issues for The Examiner (Independence, MO) and has published in a variety of media outlets, including The Guardian, Jane’s Foreign Report, Global Journalist and Transitions Abroad. He recently published a research paper on governance of the international aid effort in Haiti, “Human Security After Collapse: Global Security in Post-Earthquake Haiti”.

Categorized | Analysis, Working Papers

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