November was another busy month in the disarmament world,
with high-level meetings and the release of major reports on killer robots,
explosive weapons, nuclear weapons, and landmines, among others. In case you
On November 13, the International Campaign to
Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) released Schools of Mass Destruction:
American Universities in the U.S. Nuclear Weapons Complex, a report documenting the involvement of about 50 U.S.
universities in the research and development of nuclear weapons, through direct
management of and partnership with laboratories that design the weapons. The
report calls on these universities to stop their complicity in the development
and use of nuclear weapons and to reinvest their funding into non-proliferation
and environmental remediation efforts.
The 2019 Meeting of the High Contracting Parties
to the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) took place from November
13-15 in Geneva. Reaching Critical Will’s detailed report on the CCW meeting can be
found here, but key developments include:
CCW states parties agreed that the Group of
Governmental Experts will meet again in 2020 and 2021 to explore “possible recommendations
on options related to emerging technologies in the area of lethal
autonomous weapons systems.” Civil society criticized CCW
diplomacy for moving at “a snail’s pace.”
PAX released a new report finding that the majority of European states
agree on the “urgent need to work towards concrete policy measures” to address
killer robots, and another report
detailing the role of the arms industry in the increasing autonomy of weapons.
Despite strong support for further discussions
of incendiary weapons and mines other than antipersonnel mines, the objections
of just a few states kept the topics off the 2020 CCW agenda because the
meeting was operating on the basis of consensus.
For the first time, CCW states parties negotiated
part of the final conference report behind closed doors, excluding participants
from international and nongovernmental organizations.
On November 18, Ireland convened states in
Geneva for an initial round of open consultations on a new political
declaration on the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. States presented
their recommendations for elements of the declaration, and Ireland expects to
release a draft text in mid-January, with the aim of concluding the process by
May or June. Reaching Critical Will’s more detailed description of the
discussions can be found here.
At the meeting, Human Rights Watch and the
Harvard Law School International Human Rights Clinic released a joint report, A Commitment to Civilians: Precedent for a
Political Declaration on Explosive Weapons in Populated Areas, that
identified key elements of a new declaration, drawing on precedent from
On November 21, the International Campaign to
Ban Landmines published the Landmine
Monitor 2019, which included a 20-year review of efforts to implement
the Mine Ban Treaty, the first humanitarian disarmament instrument.
More than 700 diplomats, advocates, and
survivors convened in Oslo for the Fourth Review Conference of the Mine Ban Treaty from
November 25-29. At the conclusion of the conference, states parties
re-affirmed their commitment to a mine-free world, adopting a global action
plan to ensure that treaty obligations are met
by 2025. For more information, see this overview.
November was another busy month in the disarmament world, with high-level meetings and the release of major reports on killer robots, explosive weapons, nuclear weapons, and landmines, among others. In case you missed it: