United Nations Secretary-General calls for new international law to regulate and prohibit killer robots by 2026. It’s time for the international community to rise to the challenge

The UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, has issued an urgent call to states to adopt a legal treaty to prohibit killer robots by 2026. The call comes as part of the Secretary-General’s New Agenda for Peace ahead of the Summit of the Future in 2024. This deadline is a crucial recognition that new technologies pose fundamental humanitarian, legal, security and ethical concerns that directly threaten human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Thousands of tech and AI experts and scientists, the Stop Killer Robots campaign, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the ICRC, 26 Nobel Laureates and wider civil society have consistently called for the urgent negotiation of new international law to address autonomy in weapons systems and ensure meaningful human control over the use of force.

The Secretary-General’s unprecedented timeline for action comes amid increasing reports of the use of weapons systems with concerning levels of autonomy in conflict. A rapid advancement in technology is causing harm right now, with growing  digital dehumanisation and automated harm around the world.

The Secretary General has set a clear goal and a clear end date, and reiterated his assertion that, “machines with the power and discretion to take lives without human involvement are politically unacceptable, morally repugnant and should be prohibited by international law”. This paves the way for action by states in October as a resolution to open new international consultations, a key step towards a new international treaty, is likely to be put before the United Nations General Assembly.

Clare Conboy of Stop Killer Robots said:

“Technological developments are not waiting. The Secretary General has lit the path forward for states – he has called for the negotiation of new international law to prohibit killer robots by 2026. It’s time for states to take meaningful steps towards protecting humanity from the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of killer robots and digital dehumanisation.”

“With the UN Secretary-General showing clear leadership, voting in October at the UN General Assembly will be a key test for states. A resolution in October is the next step towards a new international treaty and ensuring that we do not allow machines to make life and death decisions.”

Some 90 states have so far called for a legal instrument on autonomous weapons. Although discussions to adopt such an instrument have so far been blocked by a minority of militarised states that are investing heavily in the development of autonomous weapons, the UN General Assembly offers a forum that would break that procedural deadlock.


For more information or to schedule an interview please contact:

Clare Conboy

Media & Communications Manager


Tel./WhatsApp. +41764344483

Formed in October 2012, Stop Killer Robots is a coalition of 241 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in 70 countries. With growing digital dehumanisation, the Stop Killer Robots coalition works to ensure human control in the use of force and calls for new international law on autonomy in weapons systems.

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