Portugal has participated in all Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) meetings on autonomous weapons systems.
Portugal supports the negotiation of a legally binding instrument on autonomous weapons systems. At the 2023 Ibero-American Summit, Portugal endorsed the Summit’s Communiqué on the social and humanitarian impact of autonomous weapons, which states that ‘the delegates of the Ibero-American States recognise the need for new actions to: Collaborate to promote the negotiation of a legally binding international instrument, with prohibitions and regulations regarding autonomy in weapons systems, in order to ensure compliance with International Law, including International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law, ethical perspectives, as well as the prevention of the social and humanitarian impact that autonomy entails in weapons systems.’
At the 2019 meeting of the CCW Group of Governmental Experts on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems (GGE on LAWS), Portugal said that discussions on autonomous weapons and the future of warfare are ‘no longer science fiction but a reality with a great potential of impact in human societies.’ In the same statement, Portugal also stated that ‘It is of utmost importance to safeguard the inherently human characteristics in the selection and/or attack of legitimate targets. The foreseeable further automatisation of decision-making when targets are being selected and/or engaged may challenge human characteristics and behaviours intrinsic to this process.’Statement by Portugal, CCW Group of Governmental Experts on LAWS, 25 March 2019, https://reachingcriticalwill.org/images/documents/Disarmament-fora/ccw/2019/gge/statements/25March_Portugal5d.pdf At the 77th UN General Assembly First Committee meeting in October 2022, Portugal said that it welcomes ‘the work of the Group of Governmental Experts on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems and hope for consensus recommendations regarding the development of a normative and operational framework.'Statement by Portugal, 77th UN General Assembly First Committee, 11 October 2022, https://reachingcriticalwill.org/images/documents/Disarmament-fora/1com/1com22/statements/11Oct_Portugal.pdf
At the 2020 meeting of the GGE on LAWS, Portugal said that ‘simply agreeing that international law applies to LAWS is not enough’ and that the GGE on LAWS must engage in a ‘strong discussion’ on identifying and interpreting these concrete international norms’ and ‘assessing the existing international law in order to find possible gaps that might call for an international binding instrument on LAWS.’Statement by Portugal, CCW Group of Governmental Experts on LAWS, 22 September 2020, http://18.104.22.168:8080/s2t/UNOG/CCW-GGE-20200922-AM_mp3.html; please note that this link leads to the full … Continue reading
|↑1||Statement by Portugal, CCW Group of Governmental Experts on LAWS, 25 March 2019, https://reachingcriticalwill.org/images/documents/Disarmament-fora/ccw/2019/gge/statements/25March_Portugal5d.pdf|
|↑2||Statement by Portugal, 77th UN General Assembly First Committee, 11 October 2022, https://reachingcriticalwill.org/images/documents/Disarmament-fora/1com/1com22/statements/11Oct_Portugal.pdf|
|↑3||Statement by Portugal, CCW Group of Governmental Experts on LAWS, 22 September 2020, http://22.214.171.124:8080/s2t/UNOG/CCW-GGE-20200922-AM_mp3.html; please note that this link leads to the full recording & transcript of the relevant meeting.|