The World Council of Churches joined other global and regional groups in delivering to the UN an interfaith statement in support of the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots.
The statement was formed out of efforts that have continued since February 2023—and before that—when members of the Stop Killer Robots coalition met in Costa Rica to consider the impact of digital dehumanisation—a process in which humans are reduced to data points, on which decisions are made which can negatively impact us.
“The potential of such automated harm includes injury or death from the use of autonomous weapon systems,” reads the statement. “Digital dehumanisation is fundamentally repulsive to all people who share a belief in the inalienable dignity of the human person and the inestimable worth of human life.”
The interfaith group that delivered the statement represents a range of faiths and beliefs, and jointly condemns all attempts to allow the unregulated development of autonomous weapons.
“Our different faith traditions teach a profound respect for life,” reads the statement. “Accordingly, strengthening the moral threshold against delegating decisions about the life or death of people to machines operated by digital code is a core issue for us all,” reads the message. “We are all witnesses of war and armed conflict at present.”
The ledgers of injustice and impunity are growing, the message notes.
“We welcome the affirmation by many states that meaningful human control must be retained over such technologies,” reads the statement. “We also welcome the positions of all states and international organizations calling for specific prohibitions on systems which would target humans.”
But a global regulatory framework is urgently needed, the statement notes.
“We therefore continue to call on the UN member states and all people of goodwill shaping policy in this field to establish and protect meaningful human control over the use of force by weapons with limited autonomy through regulation, and to enact and enforce a global ban on autonomous weapons that target people or cannot be used with meaningful human control,” concludes the statement.