Drone-warfare and notions of heroism and masculinity in conflict examined

Where do the operators of unmanned aerial vehicles fit within what it means to be a ‘heroic’ soldier?

Eurosatory 2014 in pictures: AOAV at the world’s largest arms trade fair

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MPs demand greater transparency in UK use of drones

In a report released on 25 March by the Defence Select Committee, MPs call upon the British government to increase transparency in their use of armed drones, particularly in regard to “safeguards and limitations the UK Government has in place for the sharing of intelligence”. The Royal Air Force currently operates 10 armed Reaper drones […]

New UN report calls for independent inquiries into drone strikes

The UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and counterterrorism has called on states to launch independent investigations into drone attacks that have lead to civilian casualties. In his latest report for the UN Human Rights Council, Ben Emmerson concludes that whenever any reliable sources indicate that there “have been, or appear to have been, civilian casualties […]

Killer robots: dystopian fiction or imminent threat?

The arms industry has come a long way since World War I, when engineers first started to consider “flying bombs” – pilotless, radio-controlled aircraft packed with explosives. Those early experiments, like the Kettering Bug, an “unmanned aerial torpedo”, or the V-1, a predecessor of the cruise missile, were ahead of their time and mostly saw limited use. Today, […]

European Parliament condemns extrajudicial drone strikes in landslide vote

In a landslide vote, the European Parliament today passed a resolution opposing the practice of extrajudicial killings. It demands that states refrain from perpetrating unlawful targeted killings or facilitating such actions by other states. By a margin of 534 to 49, Members of the European Parliament acknowledged civil society’s grave concerns over the use of […]

Afghan civilians face greatest threat from explosive weapons, say UN

This month the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) released its annual report on the state of civilian protection in the country. Once again, explosive weapons were the leading cause of civilian casualties. Improvised explosive devices (IEDs) stood out as weapons of particular concern. They accounted for more than a third of all civilian […]

Power to the people: How technology is opening up the reporting of armed violence

Advances in technology mean that there are now more ways than ever for people to report or identify acts of violence. More data means better information and hopefully better-designed interventions. These technologies are no longer the preserve of rich and powerful governments. Now anyone with an internet connection or a smart phone can contribute. If […]

UN expert once again highlights the risks of drones and killer robots

In a recent event hosted by the All-Party Parliamentary Groups on the UN and Drones, Ben Emmerson, UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism, once again warned of the inherent risk of the use of armed drones and the rapid development of autonomous weapons systems. The meeting with UN Special Rapporteur Ben Emmerson and Professor […]

A Picture of Violence

Data and information on armed violence are increasingly being presented in a range of visually striking and engaging ways. But are these visualisation programmes just glossy and insubstantial toys or do they offer something more? The Mapping Arms Data Visualization App was developed by the Peace Research Institute Oslo and the Igarapé Institute.  Based on […]

Two UN reports urge for more transparency in the use of drones

Two major UN expert reports published earlier this week address the controversy of drone strikes and call for an increase in transparency in the treatment of civilian casualties. In the first of the set of reports, the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial killings, Christof Heyns, calls for end of the international secrecy surrounding who owns armed drones, how […]

Noel Sharkey discusses killer robots on BBC Radio 4’s the Today Programme, ahead of UN decision

Member States to the Convention of Conventional Weapons will decide tomorrow whether to consider autonomous weapons systems, or killer robots, under the current treaty. Ahead of what could be a landmark decision towards a moratorium against the development of these weapons, Professor Noel Sharkey, chair of ICRAC and founding member of the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, discusses […]