#TeamHuman in 2021

Stop Killer Robots
4 min readDec 31, 2021


Hélène Abi Assi is the Communications Officer for the Stop Killer Robots campaign.

Three female campaigners dressed in black with a graffitied backdrop look directly to camera. The woman in the middle holds a sign that says “machines shouldnt killer people. Stop Killer Robots. #KeepCtrl
Campaigners Merel Sellensbach, Hélène Abi Assi and Natasza Piasecka make a point to states during the 6th Review Conference of the Convention on Conventional Weapons in Geneva, Switzerland.

It’s been a busy and exciting year for Stop Killer Robots! From political leaders to Stephen Colbert, killer robots are a talking point! Looking back on 2021 and seeing our progress, it’s easy to see why we’re feeling a renewed sense of hope for the year to come. 2022 is going to be an even bigger year!

In no particular order, here are some of our favourite moments…

10. Stephen Colbert thinks Killer Robots are a bad idea…

Killer Robots made an appearance on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert. That was pretty cool 😎.

9. The ‘Guardians of International Law’ said that we need new international law on #KillerRobots!

The International Committee of the Red Cross, called for new legal rules to address the moral and legal concerns of autonomy in weapons systems. What a moment! 💪

8. We launched our new website and branding!

We like our new website a lot. It has everything you need to join #TeamHuman and be part of the movement to stop #KillerRobots.

Also, we produced a brand new video to explain why we exist ⬇️

7. We won the Ypres Peace Prize

Stop Killer Robots was awarded the Ypres Peace Prize. This was and is very special to us because the prize was voted on by the young people of Ypres. In November, the team travelled to Belgium to accept the Prize on behalf of all of our incredible campaigners around the world.

Check out the highlights of our trip below 🎥!

6. Human rights and tech!

Killer robots, automated decision making, the importance of ensuring meaningful human control in the use of force… preventing digital dehumanisation. These are some of the biggest human rights challenges we will face as our society becomes more automated. We participated in RightsCon with a powerhouse panel to discuss just this. If you want the low-down, it’s well worth checking out our live tweets from the event.

A screenshot of the virtual RightsCon panel that shows Mutale Nkonde, Lucy Suchman, Sarah Shoker, Isabelle Jones and Laura Nolan.
Mutale Nkonde, Lucy Suchman, Sarah Shoker, Isabelle Jones and Laura Nolan during our RightsCon panel ‘Preventing Digital Dehumanisation’.

5. #EscapeTheScan

We partnered with Amnesty International and launched our first-ever social media filter #EscapeTheScan! It’s an augmented reality experience where you have to move around to try to escape the killer robot’s scan. It’s available on Facebook or Instagram.

While the filter is a bit of fun, the more serious point to be made is that if you were actually targeted by an autonomous weapon, whether that’s because of your location, proximity to others, your race, or even gender, for example, there likely would be no escape at all 😬.

4. Our joint petition with Amnesty International

“We call on government leaders around the world to launch negotiations for new international law on autonomy in weapons systems — to ensure human control in the use of force and to prohibit machines that target people, reducing us to objects, stereotypes, and data points.”

So far, more than 17,000 people have signed our petition. Join them!

Why you might ask? This neat little video will explain it all:

3. Emerging political leadership

The UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres has referred to autonomous weapons systems as “morally repugnant and politically unacceptable” and has called for them to be banned. Austrian Foreign Minister, Alexander Schallenberg and New Zealand’s Minister for Disarmament and Arms Control, Phil Twyford, have both called for the development of new international law. Over 65 countries around the world have called for the negotiation of new international law to regulate autonomy in weapons systems.

This is big! Momentum continues to build and the stage is set for 2022 to get even bigger!

2. Killer robots have been in the news…quite a bit!

From the New York Times, the Guardian, the BBC, to Reuters, Fortune, Newsy ⬇️ and many many more… killer robots are being talked about a lot by the media.

Public interest and expectation that governments will act is growing.

The pressure is now on states and their political leaders to create regulation to stop machines killing people.

1. Diplomatic talks did not go well!

States had the opportunity to make history, to draw a legal and moral line to ensure that machines don’t kill people.

The US, Russia, and a handful of militarised states held the majority of states hostage using the consensus rule at the Convention on Conventional Weapons 6th Review Conference to prevent any kind of substantive progress. After 8 years of work, it was a complete failure of multilateralism.

This might seem like an odd moment to draw attention to, but we’ve reached the point of no return and that’s a good thing!

Now this process has failed, it’s up to the states who have called for new international law to make progress, to take steps to create new international law through another approach. It’s entirely possible whether the US and Russia participate or not… we’ve seen it before with the successful development of international treaties on landmines and cluster munitions.

The stage is set, the world is watching, roll on 2022! __________________________________________________

*Bonus moment*

Stop Killer Robots is a movement that is made up of individuals of all backgrounds from around the world. Throughout 2021, #TeamHuman have worked so hard, we have lobbied, protested, educated, participated in parliamentary events, attended UN meetings in person and virtually and thanks to each person’s hard work, our movement continues to grow. Thanks to you, 2022 is looking more hopeful than ever.

To get involved visit: www.stopkillerrobots.org



Stop Killer Robots

With growing digital dehumanisation, the Stop Killer Robots campaign works to ensure human control in the use of force. www.stopkillerrobots.org