Orbiting our planet are thousands of satellites that support military operations as well as critical civilian and commercial infrastructures that provide essential services for humans all over the world. These satellites are unprotected and can be seriously damaged by even the smallest piece of orbital shrapnel or debris. And in space, the danger is ongoing, because the debris stays in orbit.
Responsible uses of artificial intelligence (AI) have been featured prominently in recent national discussions and multilateral forums. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), 60 countries have multiple initiatives and more than 30 have national AI strategies that consider responsible use. However, the use of AI for national defence has not generally been tackled yet.
Valuable insights into the current treatment of migrants, particularly in the wider European context, can be achieved by examining recent interactions between Italy and Libya. Indeed, this particular case highlights a necessary reframing of responses to migration at a global level.
On April 12, Global Affairs Canada (GAC) announced the cancellation of 29 permits for the export of Canadian-made surveillance and targeting sensors to Turkey. The decision was based on what GAC described as “credible evidence” that the exports in question were being unlawfully diverted by Turkey to the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh. The same report that announced the cancellation indicated that Turkish drones had also been diverted to support Turkish military operations in Syria.
Just before Canada halted certain weapons exports to Turkey in April 2021, the FAAE committee released nearly 1,000 pages of government documents on Canada’s arms deals with Turkey. Although heavily redacted, the documents provide an unmatched look into the Canadian arms trade, including previously confidential memoranda to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, hundreds of pages of internal correspondence by Global Affairs Canada (GAC), and never-before-seen Canadian export permits for weapon systems.
As there is credible evidence that Saudi Arabia has breached the laws of war in Yemen, and has gone so far as to illicitly provide these vehicles to proxies in that conflict, Canada’s continued arms exports to Riyadh is a breach of domestic and international law.
“To date, there has not been much information about how Canada plans to use armed drones beyond broad sketches and assurances from leadership about their responsible use,” said Branka Marijan, a senior researcher at the arms-control group Project Ploughshares.
On April 27, 2021, Ploughshares Executive Director Cesar Jaramillo and Researcher Kelsey Gallagher provided testimony to the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development of the Government of Canada. The subject was Granting of Arms Export, with a particular focus on permits granted for exports to Turkey.
The Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC), an independently operated Crown corporation, arranges contracts between Canadian manufacturers and foreign governments. Between 60 and 70 per cent of these contracts involve military goods, making the CCC Canada’s largest arms broker.
To no one’s surprise, United Nations discussions on the regulation of autonomous weapons have stalled. Last year, the global pandemic caused delays, with only one week of discussions—partly in Geneva, Switzerland and partly virtual—taking place from September 21-25. November’s annual meeting of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW), at which the 2021 schedule for discussions on autonomous weapons would have been set, was cancelled.