Chemical Weapons Convention

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  • The Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) is an arms control treaty that outlaws the production, stockpiling, and use of chemical weapons and their precursors.
  • The full name of the treaty is the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction and it is administered by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), an intergovernmental organization based in The Hague,
  • The Netherlands. The treaty entered into force in 1997.
  • The Chemical Weapons Convention prohibits the large-scale use, development, production, stockpiling and transfer of chemical weapons. Very limited production for research, medical, pharmaceutical or protective purposes is still permitted.
  • The main obligation of member states under the convention is to effect this prohibition, as well as the destruction of all current chemical weapons. All destruction activities must take place under OPCW verification.
  • As of May 2018, 193 states have become parties to the CWC and accept its obligations. Israel has signed but not ratified the agreement, while three other UN member states (Egypt, North Korea and South Sudan) have neither signed nor acceded to the treaty. Most recently, the State of Palestine deposited its instrument of accession to the CWC on 17 May 2018.
  • In September 2013 Syria acceded to the convention as part of an agreement for the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons.

Key points of the Convention

  • Prohibition of production and use of chemical weapons
  • Destruction (or monitored conversion to other functions) of chemical weapons production facilities
  • Destruction of all chemical weapons (including chemical weapons abandoned outside the state parties territory)
  • Assistance between State Parties and the OPCW in the case of use of chemical weapons
  • An OPCW inspection regime for the production of chemicals which might be converted to chemical weapons
  • International cooperation in the peaceful use of chemistry in relevant areas