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Thursday July 25, 2024

Human control on lethal weapons stressed

By Rasheed Khalid
May 12, 2023

Islamabad: Nada Tarbush, Counsellor, UN Mission of State of Palestine in Geneva, has stressed the need for meaningful human control on Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems (LAWS) comprising a system of reliability, predictability, understanding, explanation and traceability.

Ms Tarbush was addressing a seminar on “Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems: a regional perspective” organised here by Institute of Strategic Studies (ISS) in collaboration with Sustainable Peace and Development Organisation (SPADO), today. Ms Tarbush appreciated how Pakistan shaped the international debate on such weapons. She outlined the Palestinian perspective regarding LAWS and said that two categories should be prohibited - one that targets humans, and one that does not have humans in the loop.

She highlighted the Israeli use of LAWS against Palestinians. Underscoring that these weapons may become available to non-state actors, she stressed that developing a legally binding instrument was an urgent matter. Khalil-ur-Rehman Hashmi, Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations and other International Organizations in Geneva, in his special message stated that Pakistan’s UN Mission in Geneva had been working to promote a ban on LAWS for years. Since 2014, there were conversations at the international level on this issue. He said that countries remain divided into two camps–those who supported legally binding instruments; and those that opposed it. He reaffirmed that Pakistan’s efforts in this regard would continue.

Ahmer Bilal Soofi, former Minister of Law Justice & Parliamentary Affairs & Human Rights, said that in the case of LAWS, it was a grey area as to when a state could respond and what would constitute an attack on the country and whether it could respond under Article 51 of the UN Charter. He presented several proposals including the need to regulate the private sector as well as government-to-government enterprises. He emphasised the need to create customary norms against autonomous weapons.