Norm‐making and the Global South: Attempts to Regulate Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems

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The international community has been debating lethal autonomous weapons systems (LAWS) under the auspices of the UN Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (UN‐CCW) since 2014. Here, a growing number of states from the Global South have been active participants and expressly support a preventive legal ban of fully autonomous systems. This is an interesting observation for two reasons: first, their vocal activism within a UN disarmament forum is noteworthy as these sites have often not been associated with significant representation from the Global South, not least due to financial pressures. Second, their engagement speaks to an evolving critical agenda in norm research, recognising developing states as norm‐makers rather than norm‐takers and thereby counteracting a long‐standing hierarchical depiction of norm promotion, development, and diffusion. The article therefore studies ongoing international deliberations on LAWS from the perspective of the Global South as potential norm‐makers.