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Human Rights for Some—Indifference for Others

Human Rights for Some—Indifference for Others

My name is Vahid Razavi. I have been a member of the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots for the past five years. During this time, my former 501(c)(3) organization, Ethics in Tech, was awarded multiple grants to produce content on behalf of the Campaign by its Steering Committee.

With the Campaign’s support, Ethics in Tech organized events featuring speakers including Nobel laureate Mary Wareham, Mines Action Canada director Erin Hunt, and numerous experts in the field of artificial intelligence and autonomous lethal weapons systems. In addition to hosting luminaries in the activist space, Ethics in Tech also incorporated headlining comedians as part of our unique approach to addressing some of the most existential issues of our time.

Our events—especially prior to the Covid-19 pandemic—were well attended and drew national and international media coverage, including from Japanese broadcaster NHK World.

I have always been a steadfast supporter of the Campaign’s mission of a world free from lethal autonomous weapons. When Israel launched its genocidal retaliation against the Palestinian people following the horrific October 7 attacks, I and a number of Campaign members implored the Campaign’s Steering Commitee to make a public statement against the use of AI-powered weapons in Gaza. As a human rights organization, I believed the Campaign would naturally condemn what thousands of internationally experts including one of Israel’s leading Holocaust scholars called a “textbook case” of genocide.

Alas, imagine my dismay and disappointment when the Campaign terminated human rights attorney Ousman Noor after he published a social media post condemning the Gaza genocide. In the wake of this most dubious decision, more than 2,000 human rights defenders signed an open letter in support of Mr. Noor. This resounding show of support went unanswered by the Campaign’s Steering Committee.

Was Mr. Noor just a rogue disgruntled employee? Hardly. Another staff member, the Campaign’s UK coordinator, subsequently accused the Campaign of racism. When multiple staff members accuse an organization of open racism and retaliation for taking a position against genocide, the organization’s value’s demand further scrutiny.

I have been warned, threatened with expulsion, and told to be silent while I witness an AI- driven genocide before my very eyes. Is the innocent blood of tens of thousands of men, women, and children being spilled in Gaza not worthy of the Steering Committee to act?

In response to backlash from Coalition members, the Steering Committee has resolved to rearrange the proverbial chairs on the deck of the Titanic. They will be conducting a survey of Coalition members in the weeks ahead. I submit that the Campaign must immediately publish a statement condemning, the genocide, by the  use of AI-driven systems utilized by Israeli occupation forces in their assault on Gaza.

Project Nimbus used Google and AWS cloud for machine learning, AI using facial recognition, and object tracking and targeting.

Red Wolf mass facial recognition training all over occupied territories for maintaining apartheid control of Palestinians.

Blue Wolf used on smartphones to capture facial details of Palestinian users.

Smart shooter used for AI and Automatic shooting of Palestinians throughout the occupied territories for “crowd disbursement.”

Finally, Gospel that is used to target over 200 journalists that have been murdered and maimed, sometimes along with their families, throughout Gaza.

The embedded video was an event that I participated in with Ousman Noor and fellow coalition member in regards to countering intimidation and retaliation in peace and disarmament in support of Palestinian human rights advocates. 

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COUNTERING DISCRIMINATION AND INTIMIDATION IN PEACE AND DISARMAMENT: SUPPORTING ADVOCATES FOR PALESTINE

NGO campaigns working in peace and disarmament are plagued by Western-centric and racist structures. The response to Israel’s genocide in Gaza by several Western led NGOs, including through discrimination, intimidation and silencing of human rights advocates speaking up for Palestine, exemplifies the deep-rooted prejudice held towards the legitimate views and aspirations of non-white and Global Majority states and stakeholders.

This seminar examines these practices in light of the events at Stop Killer Robots, a coalition of 250+ civil society organizations across 70+ states, led by world leading peace and disarmament NGOs. In October 2023, leaders of the campaign dismissed Ousman Noor as Government Relations Manager, after he spoke up against apartheid, ethnic cleansing and occupation in Palestine, while coalition members calling for accountability and transparency have since been ignored.

Free! No Registration Required!
Language: English without translation
[How to Watch] Live on Youtube at https://www.youtube.com/@EthicsInTechnology/streams

Event will be available for future viewing on the same link above!
Endorsements: Arms and Civil Society Research Forum, International Peace Research Institute Meiji Gakuin University (PRIME), JSPS KAKENHI Number 21K13250, Network Against Japan Arms Trade (NAJAT), No Ethics in Big Tech, Nonviolence International Southeast Asia (NISEA)

Speaker Bios:
Dr. Tamara Enomoto is Associate Professor at Meiji Gakuin University, Japan. From 2003 and 2015, she worked as a policy officer on humanitarian and arms control issues at Oxfam. She has authored and edited books including The Arms Trade Treaty: The Self, Sovereignty, and Arms Transfer Control (2020 in Japanese), Weapon Taboos: Genealogies of Pariah Weapons (2020 in Japanese), and Bouncing Back: Critical Reflections on the Resilience Concept in Japan and South Africa (2022 in English).

Ousman Noor: Ousman studied law at SOAS: University of London, and social anthropology at the University of Oxford. He worked as a human rights barrister (lawyer) in London for 9 years, specializing in refugee and detention law, and taught as a Senior Teaching Fellow at SOAS. For 3+ years, Ihe was Government Relations Manager at Stop Killer Robots, a coalition of 250+ NGOs from 70+ countries. Following a personal Tweet calling for an end to occupation, apartheid and ethnic cleansing in Palestine, his employment was terminated.

Sahdya Darr: Sahdya was UK Campaign to Stop Killer Robots Coalition Coordinator from June-December 2023 until she resigned because of the silence and inaction of the UK and global Stop Killer Robots campaigns on Gaza. Since 2020, she has worked at the intersection of technology and society (migration, warfare, education). Sahdya is deeply invested in ‘how’ we do the work of building a better world and always has abolitionist and organiser Mariam Kaba’s ‘questions I regularly ask myself when I’m outraged about injustice’ in her mind.

Mr. Vahid Razavi Founded Ethics In Technology 11 years ago and now knows better and he is the Founder of No Ethics In Big Tech, is the author of two books, The Age of Nepotism and Ethics in Tech and Lack Thereof. As a lifelong activist and humanitarian, he has produced hundreds of videos on various social issues, including Ethics In Technology, Silicon Valley, regional politics, poverty, war, and social injustice.

Mr. Fred Lubang: Fred Lubang is the Regional Representative of Nonviolence International Southeast and served on various advisory boards of various global disarmament campaigns. Concurrently, he is also the National Coordinator of the Philippine Campaign to Ban Landmines and has led the implementation of one of the peace agreements on clearing explosive remnants of war in the Bangsamoro. Fred was awarded the 2022 Sean MacBride Peace Award for his “unflagging work and commitment” to humanitarian disarmament. Fred is now working on his PhD dissertation on ‘a decoloniality framework for humanitarian disarmament’ at the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies in Cambodia.

European Legal Support Center:The ELSC is the first and only independent organisation defending and empowering the Palestine solidarity movement in Europe through legal means. It provides free legal advice and assistance to associations, human rights NGOs,
groups and individuals advocating for Palestinian rights in mainland Europe and the UK.

“Registration is not required. Simply tune in to the live stream on
YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/@EthicsInTechnology/streams on 10th February 2024 at 13:00-14:00 (UTC).”