Skip to main content

27th October 2022

“Stop Killer Robots” says Amnesty International UoM

The University of Manchester, Amnesty International is launching a campaign asking the University to “stop funding killer robots”
“Stop Killer Robots” says Amnesty International UoM
Photo: Shikhar Talwar @ The Mancunion

On October 19, the University of Manchester’s branch of Amnesty International launched a campaign to stop the University’s funding of “killer robots”.

The campaign, which started with a banner-making event in the Students Union, is linked to a report by Stop Killer Robots, featuring contributions by UN-UK ands Amnesty International. The report investigated the links between UK universities and companies that develop Lethal Autonomous Weapons (LAWs) – that is, weapons which have the capability to independently locate and destroy targets. 

The campaign calls for the University to cut ties with companies who develop these weapons, and who fund the University. According to the report these companies include BAE systems, BP, Blue Bear Systems Research Ltd, MDBA, and more. 

The spokesperson added they want the University to sign “the Safe Future for Life pledge, which would be a promise that they [UoM] are going to actively prevent the development and research into LAWs at the University”.

While these weapons are not directly created at the University, a UoM Amnesty International spokesperson stated that funding from these companies means that students research areas around automation that will help make LAWs more efficient. 

Secondly, according to Amnesty International, the “instant community” that funding creates between the companies and the University creates a hiring pathway; students are led from the University into these companies. 

BAE systems, for example, is an Aerospace company which produces, among many things, “multinational arms and security”. They partnered with the University in 2017 with the Dean of the Faculty of Science and Engineering, Professor Martin Schröder, welcoming them. He stated, “we look forward to working with BAE Systems on exciting research and education innovations”. 

Similarly, the report notes a connection with MBDA Missiles Systems. While no announcement of this appears to have been made, MBDA has been associated with University award ceremonies for students for several years.

Shikhar Talwar

Shikhar Talwar

Hello! I am the MMG News Producer. My job is to ensure collaboration between all 3 wings of MMG, namely Mancunion, Fuse TV and Fuse FM. I also write for the news section at the Mancunion, with topics ranging from elections to protests.

More Coverage

Record 159 students apply to LeadMCR

159 students have applied, breaking the record set in 2016

John Rylands Library to undergo major £7.6m transformation

The John Rylands will undergo a £7.6m revision, allowing the building to meet mid-21st century needs

University round-up: new 24/7 helpline, (nearly) oldest-ever graduate, and a rise in burglaries

Read the latest news from UK universities, featuring a new 95-year-old graduate and the rollout of a new 24/7 helpline service

Students’ Union release statement in response to “Pro-Life Society” petition

The Students’ Union Exec team has released a statement outlining their legal position in regards to the creation of and affiliation with new societies