chemical-weapons-convention

Context: The Syrian air force used deadly chemical weapons in three separate attacks in March 2017 on the central town of Ltamenah that affected a total of at least 106 people, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said in a report.

Details:

  • The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), implements Chemical Weapons Convention.
  • It is headquartered in The Hague. OPCW won the 2013 Nobel peace prize.
  • The Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) is a multilateral treaty that bans chemical weapons and requires their destruction within a specified period of time.

Membership: The Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) is open to all nations and currently has 193 states-parties. Israel has signed but has yet to ratify the convention.

  • Three states have neither signed nor ratified the convention are Egypt, North Korea and South Sudan.

Objective: The Convention aims to eliminate an entire category of weapons of mass destruction by prohibiting the development, production, acquisition, stockpiling, retention, transfer or use of chemical weapons by States Parties. 

  • States Parties, in turn, must take the steps necessary to enforce that prohibition in respect of persons (natural or legal) within their jurisdiction.

Process: The OPCW receives states-parties’ declarations detailing chemical weapons-related activities or materials and relevant industrial activities.

  • After receiving declarations, the OPCW inspects and monitors states-parties’ facilities and activities that are relevant to the convention, to ensure compliance.
  • All States Parties have agreed to chemically disarm by destroying any stockpiles of chemical weapons they may hold and any facilities which produced them, as well as any chemical weapons they abandoned on the territory of other States Parties in the past. 
  • States Parties have also agreed to create a verification regime for certain toxic chemicals and their precursors (listed in Schedules 1, 2 and 3 in the Annex on Chemicals) in order to ensure that such chemicals are only used for purposes not prohibited under the Convention. 
  • Under the Convention’s ‘challenge inspection’ procedure, States Parties have committed themselves to the principle of ‘any time, anywhere’ inspections with no right of refusal.

 

Source: OPCW

India’s position: India is a signatory and party to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). 

  • India, pursuant to provisions of the Convention enacted the Chemical Weapons Convention Act, 2000. 
  • India was the First State Party to secure the distinction of chemical weapon free state Party by destructing all its stockpile of its chemical weapons amongst all State Parties of the Convention.

 

The Chemical Weapons Convention (Amendment) Act, 2010

  • The Act amended the Chemical Weapons Convention Act, 2000, which was enacted to give effect to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction.  
  • The Act establishes a National Authority to implement the provisions of the Convention.  
  • The central government has the power to appoint any officers of the National Authority as enforcement officers.  The Act broadens the scope by allowing the central government to appoint any of its officers as enforcement officers.
  • The Act does not allow any person to transfer or receive specified toxic chemicals from a person who is not a citizen of a State Party. The Act amends the provision by prohibiting transfer from a State which is not party to the Convention.
  • The original Act provides for registration of persons engaged in the production, processing, transfer, import, export or use of any toxic chemical or engaged in the production of discrete organic chemical.  The amendment provides for specifying a threshold limit for registration of chemicals.