The Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) is a multilateral treaty which 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. The Preamble to the Convention calls for a complete and effective prohibition of the development, production, acquisition, stockpiling, retention, transfer and use of chemical weapons, and their destruction, which represents a necessary step towards the achievement of the objective of disarmament.
NAM Member States that are parties to the CWC have underlined that the use of chemical weapons and toxic chemicals as a weapon anywhere by anyone and under any circumstances is reprehensible and completely contrary to the provisions of the Convention, legal norms and standards of the international community.
At the 17th NAM Summit held in Venezuela, Heads of State or Government of NAM States Parties to the CWC, while paying due respect to the chemical weapons victims and their families, declared their firm conviction that international support to provide special care and assistance to all victims suffering the effects of exposure to chemical weapons is an urgent humanitarian need and that the States Parties to the Convention as well as the OPCW should pay urgent attention to meeting these needs.
NAM highlighted the importance of the CWC at the 22nd Conference of the States Parties (CSP-22) which was organised by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and took place from November 27 –December 1, 2017 at Hague, Netherlands.
Speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, H.E. Ambassador Haifa Aissami Madah, Permanent Representative of Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to the OPCW attached great importance to the universality of the Convention and in this context hereby strongly called on the other States not Party to the Convention to accede to it without further delay and precondition. NAM’s position that States remaining outside the Convention should not be able to take advantage of any of the benefits it offers to the States Parties was also emphasised.
NAM reaffirmed that the implementation of the Article X of the CWC on assistance and protection against chemical weapons make a significant contribution to countering the threats of use of chemical weapons. Article X calls on each State Party undertakes to facilitate, and participate in, the fullest possible exchange of equipment, material and scientific and technological information concerning means of protection against chemical weapons.
NAM CWC State Parties attach paramount significance to the full and non-discriminatory implementation of Article XI of the CWC which states that the States Parties shall: (a) Have the right, individually or collectively, to conduct research with, to develop, produce, acquire, retain, transfer, and use chemicals; (b) Undertake to facilitate, and have the right to participate in, the fullest possible exchange of chemicals, equipment and scientific and technical information relating to the development and application of chemistry for purposes not prohibited under this Convention; (c) Not maintain among themselves any restrictions, including those in any international agreements, incompatible with the obligations undertaken under this Convention, which would restrict or impede trade and the development and promotion of scientific and technological knowledge in the field of chemistry for industrial, agricultural, research, medical, pharmaceutical or other peaceful purposes; (d) Not use this Convention as grounds for applying any measures other than those provided for, or permitted, under this Convention nor use any other international agreement for pursuing an objective inconsistent with this Convention; and (e) Undertake to review their existing national regulations in the field of trade in chemicals in order to render them consistent with the object and purpose of this Convention. NAM CWC State Parties have also encouraged the State Parties that are in the position to facilitate and make materials and equipment-related assistance available to those State Parties that are in need, upon request as well as to assist and support the victims of chemical weapons, without any restriction.
By Dr. Pawan Mathur