Intervention by Sri Lanka on Section 4 of the Chair’s Working paper on draft elements on possible consensus recommendations in relation to the clarification , consideration and development of aspects of the normative and operational framework on emerging

11 August statement photo

11 August 2021

Thank you Mr. Chair,

I will make two brief comments on section 3 before providing some comments on section 4. We fully support the retention of specific references to branches of international law in section 3.1 for reasons we have repeatedly mentioned in our previous statements and by other colleagues this morning as well.  

Secondly, the willingness of programmers of autonomous weapon systems to ensure compliance with the existing legal norms and principles is a serious concern. Therefore, we support the inclusion of the word ‘development’ in section 2 as suggested by Austria and supported by other delegates.

With regard to section 4 on human machine interaction,

In line with the consistent position reiterated by Sri Lanka over the years in this discussion and as similarly expressed by many other delegations we suggest to replace the word, ‘sufficient human control’ in section 4.1 with ‘meaningful human control’.  This reference was suggested by delegates in respect of all the previous sections of this document as well. The word “meaningful” ensures that the control is substantive.  In our view centrality of human control is fundamental in this discussion.

With regard to section 1 (b) on the phrase ‘given what they know about the target, the weapon and the context etc. provides in our view certain level of subjectivity. Therefore, we would appreciate a clarification on this aspect.

We note a certain level of overlap between section 2 and 4. Therefore we suggest to merge section 2 and 4 by focusing on human control which would read as follows “human control over the use of autonomous weapon systems through human machine interaction which may take various forms and be implemented at various stages of the life cycle of a weapon, should ensure compliance with applicable international law etc.

In addition, we also note the importance of reliability and predictability of weapon systems that should be included in this section.

Thank you Mr. Chair

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