General Statement by Sweden at the sixth Review Conference of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW)

Statement delivered by Deputy Head of Department for Disarmament and Proliferation Ms Anna Hammarlund Blixt, Geneva, 13-17 December 2021

Excellencies, dear colleagues,

Mr. President,

Let me begin by congratulating you on your appointment as President of this Conference. I can assure you of the full support from the Swedish delegation.

Sweden fully subscribes to the statement by the European Union. I will therefore limit myself to a few additional remarks in a national capacity.

Mr. President,

As a long-standing champion of international humanitarian law, Sweden’s commitment to the CCW remains steadfast. We are proud to have taken an active part in negotiating the Convention’s Protocols and we remain firmly committed to their implementation and universalisation. However, with only two new High Contracting Parties since the Fifth Review Conference, much remains to be done. We urge all states that have not joined the Convention, or its Protocols, to do so without further delay.

Let me also underline that Sweden attaches great importance to the work of the ICRC, as well as civil society organisations, and their valuable contributions to the CCW and our continued work.

With a feminist foreign policy, it is Sweden’s strong conviction that applying a gender perspective to all aspects of arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation will improve our collective work and strengthen international peace and security. We encourage all High Contracting Parties to promote women’s participation in all aspects of disarmament work.

Mr. President,

Sweden believes that the CCW and its protocols are an effective and relevant means to respond also to future weapons technology developments. Like others, Sweden welcomes a continued discussion on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems within the framework of the CCW.

In this regard, my delegation would like to reiterate its position that International Law fully applies to the use of all weapons, including LAWS. Any weapon that cannot be used in full compliance with International Law is unlawful. Accountability cannot be transferred to machines and humans must always be responsible for decisions to apply force. Retaining meaningful human control is of utmost importance and should be ensured throughout the life cycle of a weapons system.

Over the past few years, the Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) on Emerging Technologies in the Area of Lethal Autonomous Weapons System (LAWS) has made steady and substantial progress – including the 11 Guiding Principles. The work of the GGE has helped the international community better understand the complex topic of LAWS. Sweden welcomes this work and believes that the increasing convergence of views among High Contracting Parties is a positive sign. Sweden supports an extension of the mandate of the GGE beyond this Conference, a mandate that must allow for further concrete progress to be achieved.

Nevertheless, as many other delegations present, Sweden regrets that the GGE was unable to agree on a substantive report or consensus recommendation on the clarification, consideration and development of aspects of the normative and operational framework on Emerging Technologies in the Area of LAWS. This result does not reflect the spirit of the GGE. My delegation would like to convey our warm appreciation and thanks to Ambassador Marc Pecsteen – chair of the GGE – for his hard work and dedication. This work will provide the GGE with a good basis for its continued progress in the coming years.

Lastly, we would like to add our voice to those who have addressed the financial situation of the Convention. Unfortunately, the problems that we are facing are similar to those in several other fora. Sweden urges all High Contracting Parties to pay their assessed contributions in full and in time. We appreciate the efforts made by France in order to put in place relevant financial rules, and we hope that the Conference can adopt a decision on the matter.

Thank you, Mr President.

Last updated 14 Dec 2021, 12.17 PM