“Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons” and “Chemical Weapons Convention”

What is the news?

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has informed the United Nations(UN) Security Council (UNSC) that in 17 cases, chemical weapons were likely or definitely used by Syria.

About Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW):
  • OPCW is an intergovernmental organization and the implementing body for the Chemical Weapons Convention. This convention has been in force since 1997 and 193 members.
  • Aim: To achieve the vision of a world free of chemical weapons by implementing the provisions of the Chemical Weapons Convention.
  • Powers:
    • The OPCW is authorized to perform inspections to verify that signatory states are complying with the convention.
    • It can also perform testing of sites and victims of suspected chemical weapons attacks.
  • Headquarters: The Hague, Netherlands.
  • Significance: The OPCW was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2013.
About Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC):

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  • Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) is a multilateral treaty that bans chemical weapons and requires their destruction within a specified period of time.
  • The negotiations for the convention started in 1980 at the UN Conference on Disarmament. The convention opened for signature in 1993 and entered into force in 1997.
  • The convention prohibits the large-scale use, development, production, stockpiling and transfer of chemical weapons and their precursors, except for very limited purposes (research, medical, pharmaceutical or protective).
  • The convention is implemented by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
  • Members: The convention is open to all nations and currently has 193 states-parties. India signed the treaty in 1993.
    • 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.
  • Significance: 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.

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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.

Source: The Hindu


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