International Chemical Weapons Convention

Chemical Weapons Convention:
  • 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.
  • It is a multilateral treaty banning chemical weapons and requiring their destruction within the stipulated time.
  • Negotiations for the CWC began in 1980 at the United Nations Conference on Disarmament.
  • The convention was drafted in September 1992 and opened for signature in January 1993. It became effective from April 1997.
  • It makes it mandatory to destroy old and abandoned chemical weapons.
  • Members should also declare the riot-control agents (sometimes referred to as ‘tear gas’) in possession of them.
  • Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons is an international organization established by the CWC in 1997 to implement and enforce the terms of the CWC. It is headquartered in The Hague.
  • Members:
    • It has 192 state parties and 165 signatories.
    • India is a signatory of the convention.
  • Convention Prohibits:
    • The development, production, acquisition, stockpiling, or retention of chemical weapons.
    • Transferring of chemical weapons.
    • Using chemical weapons.
    • Assisting other States to indulge in activities that are prohibited by the CWC.
    • Using riot-control devices as ‘warfare methods’.
  • Three states have neither signed nor ratified the convention are Egypt, North Korea and South Sudan.
  • Challenge Inspection: A unique feature of the Convention is its incorporation of the ‘challenge inspection’. Under this, any State Party in doubt about another State Party’s compliance can request a surprise inspection.
Other Related Conventions:
  • Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions (Hazardous Chemicals and Wastes): The Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions are multilateral environmental agreements, which share the common objective of protecting human health and the environment from hazardous chemicals and wastes.
  • The Australia Group (AG) is an informal forum of countries which, through the harmonisation of export controls, seeks to ensure that exports do not contribute to the development of chemical or biological weapons.
Steps taken by India against Chemical Weapons:
  • India was the First State Party of the CWC to secure the distinction of chemical weapon-free state Party by destroying all its stockpile of its chemical weapons amongst all State Parties of the Convention.
  • India enacted the Chemical Weapons Convention Act, 2000 to implement the CWC.
  • Under the act, National Authority Chemical Weapons Convention (NACWC) has been established for implementing the provisions of the Convention. NACWC is an office in the Cabinet Secretariat, Government of India.
  • NACWC also acts as the national focal point for effective liaison with the OPCW and other State Parties on matters relating to the CWC.
Previous Year Questions:
With reference to ‘Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)’, consider the following statements: (2016)
  1. It is an organization of the European Union in working relation with NATO and WHO.
  2. It monitors the chemical industry to prevent new weapons from emerging.
  3. It provides assistance and protection to States (Parties) against chemical weapons threats. Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 and 3 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3
Ans: (b)