Soon robots will become very intelligent or conscious or both. Will we create a race of slaves repeating history? Or will we create partners?
The responsible thing to do is the latter. We must establish robot rights before 'very intelligent or conscious machines' are developed. If we do not, we will be re-committing the atrocities of the past.
We must actively pursue this goal regardless of nationality. In doing so, we reaffirm basic human rights for all sentient creatures.