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Defence: COMECE, “technology at the service of peace”. Call for “prohibition of autonomous armed systems without human control”

(Brussels) “Technology at the service of peace” is the title of a document released today by the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union (COMECE), as a “contribution to the ongoing discussion on the development and use of increasingly sophisticated armed technologies”. At a time when the EU “is launching initiatives to strengthen the operational and industrial cooperation between Member States in response to European citizens’ legitimate security concerns”, the Catholic Church recalls that “technologies should be at the service of the security of persons, families and communities”. The document outlines some security, legal and ethical risks arising from armed systems, such as remote control weapons machines or automated and autonomous weapons. COMECE also made a number of recommendations: policies related to the research, development, proliferation, export and use of uncrewed armed systems should “fully respect the principles of International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law”; seek “a global harmonisation of legal, security and ethical standards”; ensure “transparency of artificial intelligence software used in these systems”; and “express a clear prohibition of completely autonomous armed systems without effective human control”.

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