Video message by Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas to the Berlin Forum on Lethal Automomous Weapon Systems

01.04.2020 - Speech

Welcome to the Berlin Forum on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems!

In these trying times, it is a sign of hope that you are joining us from all around the world today.

While we are in the middle of the fight against the Corona virus, one lesson is already becoming clear: We will only succeed together.

More than ever, we need global solidarity.

More than ever, we need cooperation across borders and functioning international organisations.

This idea stands behind the Alliance for Multilateralism that many of your countries have joined.

And this idea also stands behind our meeting today. It sends out an important message: We stand united, especially in times of crisis.

The Corona virus is hitting health systems around the world like a Tsunami. And we will not recover from it, if we allow it to wipe out international cooperation.

While we are fighting the virus, we must not neglect our work on other pressing global issues.

Arms control and disarmament are crucial for global peace and stability.

The standstill in nuclear disarmament, the erosion of existing arms control arrangements and the risks linked to new technologies require our full attention.

Today, you are here to address one of these threats: Lethal Autonomous Weapons.

Letting machines decide over life and death of human beings runs against all of our ethical standards.

It undermines human dignity itself.

It’s a red line we should never cross.

We need binding international standards on LAWS – standards that we hope to develop with your guidance and support.

This will take time and effort.

In November, we will once again convene colleagues and experts from around the world to continue our discussion on new technologies and arms control.

By then, we will hopefully be able to meet again in person. However, we cannot put international cooperation on hold until the Corona crisis is over.

We need international exchange and global unity – now more than ever.

And we need conferences like these.

Thank you for being part of it! Take care and stay healthy!


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