Killer robots must be outlawed immediately, warns UN official –

Killer robots must be outlawed immediately, warns UN official

via Killer robots must be outlawed immediately, warns UN official –


Killer robots must be outlawed immediately, warns UN official

by J. D. Heyes

(NaturalNews) Robotics is a technology that has been around for decades, and indeed has been used to streamline manufacturing — often at the cost of human labor. Over the years, robots have become much more sophisticated and capable, but not everyone believes that is a good thing. In fact, some think that the development of robotics is becoming a threat to the human race.

Angela Kane, the United Nations’ high representative for universal weapons disarmament, has said she believes that so-called “killer robots” that can be programmed to fire on anyone without being directly controlled by a human is just a “small step” away from being deployed on future battlefields, and that as such countries should move now to outlaw that.

As reported by Britain’s Telegraph newspaper, Kane says governments need to come clean and be more transparent about current programs to develop such technology, adding that a ban now, before they are fully functional, would be best.

“Any weapon of war is terrible, and if you can launch this without human intervention, I think it’s even worse. It compounds the problem and dehumanises it in a way,” she told the paper. “It becomes a faceless war and I think that’s really terrible and so to my mind I think it should be outlawed. The decision is really in the hands of the states who have the capability to develop them.”

‘There’s a great deal of concern’

She added that she had “a great deal of concern” about the possibility that killer robots, through their programming, would be unable to distinguish certain battlefield realities, and that they could then commit major war crimes.

So far, though, the Telegraph reports that great powers have been reluctant to discuss the issue. And some in government — such as British Foreign Minister Alistair Burt — have said that countries should reserve the right to deploy such technology if it would be useful in helping to protect their own forces.

“There’s a great deal of concern about the increasing automation that’s going on in general. Just think about these self-driving cars that we hear are being tested on the roads,” Kane told the paper. “So that is only just a small step to develop weapons that are going to be activated without human intervention. Warfare in general is becoming increasingly automated.”

She went on to say: “The concern relates specifically to weapons that have the capability of selecting and also attacking targets without human intervention. Who has the responsibility and who has the liability? This is a really big issue in terms of how we are going about this.”

In fact, there are already robots being deployed to battlefields. Pilotless drones, which are guided directly from remote locations, have been used to strike targets for nearly a decade now; before them, cruise missile technology. Regarding drones, their use has been linked to “war crimes,” in a sense, when they launch weapons that kill innocent noncombatants who, unfortunately, happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

‘No weapon should be fired without human intervention’

In addition, robotics are increasingly being used by militaries for bomb disposal. And some countries, like the U.S., are developing other uses for robots on the battlefield.

The Telegraph reported that the UN has held its first meeting on the potential of “lethal autonomous weapons” to threaten humanity. UN officials said another meeting is planned this fall.

Kane said that a number of developing countries have expressed concerns that robotic weapons could be deployed against threats in their territory — again, like remotely piloted drones in recent years.

“I personally believe that there cannot be a weapon that can be fired without human intervention. I do not believe that there should be a weapon, ever, that is not guided and where there is not the accountability clearly established by whoever takes that step to guide it or to launch it,” she told the paper. “I do not believe that we could have weapons that could be controlled by robots.”



From One Nobel Peace Laureate To Another: Open letter to President Barack Obama

From One Nobel Peace Laureate To Another: Open letter to President Barack Obama.

By Adolfo Pérez Esquivel

September 06, 2013 “Information Clearing House Hear the outcry of the peoples!

The situation in Syria is an object of serious preoccupation and once more the United States, assuming the role of the world’s policeman, proposes to invade Syria in the name of “Freedom” and “Human Rights”.

Your predecessor George W. Bush, in his messianic madness, invoked religious fundamentalism to launch his messianic wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. When he declared that he talked with God, and God told him that he had to attack Iraq, he did so claiming it was the message of God to export “freedom” to the world.

You have spoken, on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the death of the Reverend Martin Luther King, also a Nobel Peace Laureate, of the need to complete the “Dream” of a shared table, of he who was the most significant expression of the struggle for civil rights against racism in the first slave-holding democracy in the world. Martin Luther King was a man who gave his life to give life, and because of this he is a martyr in our own time. They killed him after the March on Washington because he threatened civil disobedience rather than complicity with the imperialist war against the people of Vietnam. Can you really believe that a military invasion of another people can realize this dream?

Arming rebels in order to authorize the intervention of NATO is nothing new for your country and your allies. Nor is it new for the United States to propose to invade countries accusing them of possessing weapons of mass destruction, which in the case of Iraq turned out to be untrue. Your country supported the regime of Saddam Hussein when he deployed chemical weapons to annihilate the Kurdish people and against the Iranian Revolution, and there was no talk of sanctions, since at that time they [Saddam and Iraq] were your allies. But now you propose to invade Syria without knowing the results of the investigations being realized by the United Nations with the authorization of the Syrian government. There is no doubt that the use of chemical arms is immoral and to be condemned, but your government has no moral authority whatsoever to justify an intervention.

The Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-Moon, has stated that a military attack on Syria could make matters worse.

My own country, Argentina, which is now exercising the Presidency of the Security Council of the United Nations, has made public its stance against a foreign military intervention in the Republic of Syria, refusing to be “an accomplice in new deaths.”

Pope Francis has also called for a globalization of the movement for Peace and decreed a day of prayer and fasting against the war for September 7, and we ourselves will observe this call.

Even your historical ally, the United Kingdom, has refused (at least for the moment) to be part of this invasion.

Your country is transforming the “Arab Spring” into a NATO inferno, provoking wars in the Middle East and unleashing the pillage of international corporations. The invasion that you propose will only lead to more violence and more death, as well as the destabilization of Syria and of the whole region. To what end? The lucid analyst, Robert Fisk, has noted that the objective is Iran and the postponement of the establishment of a Palestinian state; it is not indignation at the death of hundreds of Syrian children that moves you to intervene militarily. And this at the moment when a moderate government has been democratically elected in Iran, under which it is possible to undertake negotiations and peaceful solutions to existing conflicts. The policy put forward by you and your country could be suicidal.

Syria needs a political rather than a military solution. The international community should support those social organizations that work for peace. The Syrian people, as any other, have a right to self-determination and to define their own democratic process and we should help them to achieve this where they need us.

Obama, your country does not have the moral authority, the legitimacy, nor the legal base to invade Syria or any other country. Much less considering you have assassinated 220,000 persons in Japan by using bombs of massive destruction.

No Congressperson of the United States can legitimize what cannot be legitimate, nor legalize what cannot be legal. This is especially true if we take into account the statement, a few days ago, of the former U.S. President James Carter: “The United States does not have a functioning democracy.”

The illegal wiretapping done by your government against the people of the United States is hardly efficient, since according to a public survey done by Reuters ( ), 60% of U.S. citizens oppose the invasion that you want to undertake.

This is why I ask you, Mister Obama, to whom do you obey?

Your government has become a danger for international equilibrium as well as for the people of the United States. It has become a country that cannot resist exporting death to maintain its power and its economy. We will not cease to try to impede this.

I was in Iraq after the bombing campaign that the United States undertook in the 1990s, before the invasion that overthrew Saddam Hussein. I saw a refuge full of women and children assassinated by guided missiles. You call these “collateral damage.”

Peoples are saying ENOUGH! to wars. Humanity calls for Peace and the right to live in freedom. The people want to turn swords into ploughshares, and the way to achieve this is to “DISARM THE ARMED CONCIENCES.”

Mister Obama, you must not forget that we always reap the fruit that we sow. Any human being should be sowing humanity and peace, especially one who has a Nobel Peace Prize. I hope that you will not end up converting the “dream of brotherhood” that Martin Luther King hoped for into a nightmare for peoples and humanity.

Please accept my greetings for Peace and Good Will

Adolfo Pérez Esquivel
Noble Peace Laureate

September 4 2013

“Where are Syrian Refugees going?”


  • More than 1 million refugees have fled Syria, with the highest numbers moving to Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey.

Where are Syrian refugees going?

Posted     Mon Mar 18, 2013 11:55am AEDT

More than 1 million refugees have fled Syria, with the highest numbers moving to Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey.

This map, released by Reliefweb, shows where refugees have been registered, according to United Nations figures. Data is current as of March 13, 2013.

dcsimg          Read article here, please:


2013 International Conference on the Rigths of Children & Women in Conflict with the Law


2013 Global Conference On Juvenile And Women Justice

May 22, 2013 – May 23, 2013 Lagos/Nigeria,   Nigeria

A two day International Conference on “Imprisonment of Children, Pregnant Women and Nursing Mothers as a Matter of Last Resort.

The United Nations (UN Beijing Rules) on the Administration of juvenile justice, Rule 26 and its corresponding sections especially  26.2 states that  “Juveniles in institutions shall receive care, protection and all necessary assistance – social, educational, vocational, psychological, medical and physical that they may require because of their age, sex, and personality and in the interest of their wholesome development.”  Section 26.1 states that “the objective of training and treatment of juveniles placed in institutions is to provide care, protection, education and vocational skills, with a view to assisting them to assume socially constructive and productive roles in society”

In addition, The African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, in 1 states that “every child shall have the right to an education”. Thus sub-section 3,and sub-section  a-c of the same article state that “States Parties to the present Charter shall take all appropriate measures with a view to achieving the full realization of this right and shall in particular: (a) provide free and compulsory basic education; (b) encourage the development of secondary education in its different forms and to progressively make it free and accessible to all; (c) make the higher education accessible to all on the basis of capacity and ability by every appropriate means”

Sadly, however, Nigeria and many other African nations continue to detain children arbitrarily, provide little or no education and any form of training for juvenile offenders and offer no protection of their basic human rights, thereby exposing them to different forms of abuses, exploitations and diseases which have severe and lasting consequences on them and society. This is so because in many parts of Africa, children in conflict with the law are for the most part dealt with as adults, using deprivation of liberty as the primary sentencing option. One obvious weakness of this system is that the needs and interests of the child as well as the root causes of conflict with the law are often ignored and little or nothing is done to offer care and assistance with reintegration into society.

In addition, most children in Nigeria have no understanding of the justice systems and their rights which makes it unlikely for them to challenge and report abuses committed within the system. More so, many institutions dealing with children offenders are notoriously child-unfriendly and their physical environment are damaging to the child’s mental, health, social and psychological well-being.

Similarly,  Rule 22 of the Bangkok Rules affirms that “ punishment by close confinement or disciplinary segregation shall not be applied to pregnant women, women with infants and breastfeeding mothers in prison” Also, Rule 57 says that” the provisions of the Toyo Rules shall guide the development and implementation of appropriate responses to women offenders. Gender-specific option for diversionary measures and pre-trial and sentencing alternatives shall be developed with Member States’ legal systems, taking account of the history of victimization of many women offenders and their caretaking responsibilities”. While Rule 60 sums it up that “appropriate resources shall be made available to devise suitable alternatives for women offenders in order to combine non-custodial measures with interventions to address the most common problems leading to women’s contact with the criminal justice system. These may include therapeutic courses and counseling for victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse; suitable treatment for those with mental disability; and educational and training programmes to improve employment prospects. Such programmes shall take account of the need to provide care for children and women-only services”.

However, the number of women, pregnant women and nursing mothers in prison continues to grow, resulting in the alarming number of children living in prisons with a parent on the continent. In Nigeria, for example, the United States Human Rights Reports in 2010, indicated that there were more than 300 of these children, most of whom were born in prison and continued to live there.

To respond to these concerns and to help African States develop their justice systems to the needs of children in line with the demands of international standards, Defence for Child International (DCI) and the African Child Policy Forum (ACPF) organized the Global Conference on Child Justice in Africa in Kampala in November, 2011. CURE-Nigeria was represented by its Country Director, Mr. Sylvester T. Uhaa, who spoke on “Children with their Mothers in Prison: A grave threat to national security, a slap at the efforts towards the attainment of the MDGs in Africa and a violation of their rights”

The outputs from the Kampala Conference included Guidelines on Action for Children in the Justice System in Africa as well as a report on Achieving Children Friendly Justice in Africa (which is yet to be published). To continue with the deliberations of the Kampala Conference and to facilitate the development of guidelines for child-sensitive justice in Nigeria, a two day International conference has been planned. The Nigerian Guidelines will be modeled after the Guidelines from the Kampala Conference, which will be contextualized to Nigeria. A follow-up programme to the Kampala Conference therefore needs to be developed so as to ensure the endorsement of the Guidelines adopted at the conference by Nigeria once the Guidelines have been adopted by the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child and approved by the African Union. In that regard, popularization of the Guidelines and also the study on children in the justice system needs to start now as the treatment of children in the justice system in Nigeria is in need of reform.

Consequently, the conference in Nigeria will bring together  key stakeholders such as the media, the legislature, foreign missions, the judiciary, the Federal and State Ministries of Justice, the Federal Ministry of Interior, the Judiciary, the Federal Ministries of Education, Women and Social Development and Health, UNICEF, WHO, the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child,  the UN Special Rappatour on Children, the Nigerian Police, the Nigerian Prison Service, NGO’s and Civil Societies, the National Human Rights Commission, and experts to exchange ideas, experiences, information and knowledge on best practices as well as develop national guidelines on dealing with children and women in conflict with the law and  children living in prisons with a parent, as well as children of incarcerated parents  in line with international standards.


UN report calls on Cuba to release Alan Gross – DC Breaking Local News Weather Sports FOX 5 WTTG


Indicium-1899-Cuba-5centavos (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

UN report calls on Cuba to release Alan Gross – DC Breaking Local News Weather Sports FOX 5 WTTG.

UN report calls on Cuba to release Alan Gross

    Posted: Jan 08, 2013 9:55 PM Updated: Jan 08, 2013 9:55 PM



    Alan Gross (left) in July 2009 and Gross in May 2012 (right) Alan Gross (left) in July 2009 and Gross in May 2012 (right)

    WASHINGTONA United Nations group is calling on the Cuban government to release an American who has been held in the country for more than three years, saying his imprisonment is unfair.  

    A 12-page report by the U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention was released Tuesday by a lawyer for the American, Alan Gross. The report is dated November 23 and had previously been released to the Cuban government. Cuba blasted the report’s conclusion in early December, saying that the U.S. government had put pressure on the UN group and arguing Gross had been fairly tried. But Cuban officials did not release the report itself.

    Gross was arrested in December 2009 while working on a project to set up wireless Internet connections for Cuba’s Jewish community. He was working as a subcontractor for USAID, the US government agency in charge of foreign economic development. U.S. officials have portrayed the work as purely humanitarian.

    But Gross was violating Cuban law by doing work for USAID in the country, since under Cuban law such activities must be authorized. Reports that Gross wrote on several trips to Cuba show he knew the work was risky. He was later sentenced to 15 years in prison, and the case has since become a major sticking point in talks between the United States and Cuba.

    The working group — whose members include lawyers and professors from Senegal, Pakistan, Ukraine, Chile and Norway — has no enforcement powers, but the ruling could put pressure on the Cuban government to release Gross.

    The report repeated criticisms of Cuba’s judicial system, saying it is not impartial, and also criticized the offense Gross was charged with, committing crimes against the state, as imprecise and vague. The report also says the 63-year-old Maryland man should have been released on bail while awaiting trial instead of being held in a Cuban prison for more than a year.

    In response, Gross’ wife on Tuesday also sent a letter to Cuban President Raul Castro.

    “Given this ruling, I would like to know why your Government is ignoring the declaration of the United Nations that his imprisonment to be wrongful and its request for Alan’s immediate release?” she wrote.

    By JESSICA GRESKO Associated Press

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    UN General Assembly´s Third Committee Voted for a “Moratorium on the Use of the Death Penalty”

    English: Emblem of the United Nations. Color i...
    English: Emblem of the United Nations. Color is #d69d36 from the image at (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    United Nations

    UN General Assembly Committee adopts draft moratorium resolution

    Article by Maria Donatelli published on November 20th, 2012

    A majority of the world’s nations have approved a text calling for a global moratorium on executions, with stronger support than in a previous vote two years ago.

    On 19 November 2012, the UN General Assembly’s Third Committee, which addresses social, humanitarian and human rights issues, voted in support of its fourth resolution for a “Moratorium on the use of the death penalty”.
    The resolution, sponsored by 91 member states, was approved with 110 votes in favor (+1 compared to the vote on the last resolution in 2010), 39 votes against (-2) and 36 abstentions (+1). Eight states were not present at the moment of the vote.
    The text includes a call “upon all States” to “establish a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty”.
    Five amendments aiming at modifying the text of the resolution preceded the debate and the vote. The majority of UN member states rejected all five amendments through a recorded vote.
    According to the rules of procedures, member states can take the floor for a general statement on the resolution they are about to vote on, and after voting to explain their position.
    The vote was preceded by statements by Croatia (for the resolution), India (against), Vietnam (against), Singapore (against) and Sudan (against). Once the results were announced the following states took the floor: Malaysia (against), Indonesia (abstention), Bangladesh (against), Suriname (abstention), Japan (against), Morocco (abstention), Cuba (abstention), Egypt (against) and Botswana (against).
    Of particular interest for the World Coalition and its members was the statement delivered by the Moroccan representative. While explaining why his country had abstained, he mentioned the efforts made in country to raise the debate on the issue of the death penalty and the Regional Congress recently organized in Rabat by ECPM, OMDH and the Moroccan Coalition.

    More support from Africa and Asia

    The voting chart shows that there were important steps forward especially in Africa were the Central African Republic, Niger and South Sudan voted in support of the resolution for the first time.
    Signs of change also came from Asia, the largest retentionist region in the world, with Afghanistan, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea passing from opposition to abstention. Unfortunately Sri Lanka and Maldives moved from a positive vote to abstention.
    In the Arab World, Tunisia participated in the vote for the first time and supported the resolution. This important development in the region was balanced by the withdrawal of Oman and Mauritania’s support for the resolution. They switched from abstention to a negative vote.
    This vote is a first step in the life of the resolution that now needs to be voted on by the General Assembly plenary towards the end of December. It will then become an official UN resolution.
    The World Coalition, together with its members will continue its campaign to increase this already positive result.