The dangers posed by weapons of mass destruction have come to occupy center stage in international politics. The term “weapon of mass destruction” (WMD) is used to characterize a variety of weapons that share two key features: their potential for large-scale destruction and the indiscriminate nature of their effects, notably against civilians. There are three major types of WMD: nuclear weapons, chemical warfare agents, and biological warfare agents. In addition, some analysts include radiological materials as well as missile technology and delivery systems such as aircraft and ballistic missiles. As such, WMDs pose a menace to international peace and security.
The Non-Aligned Movement since its inception has advocated for a peaceful global order and has cherished the principles of disarmament. In line with these ideologies, the Non-Aligned Movement has time and again expressed its concerns at the grave threats posed to humankind by the existing. At the Tehran summit 2012, the Non-Aligned Movement reaffirmed the need to prevent the emergence of new types of weapons of mass destruction and therefore supported the necessity of monitoring the situation and triggering international action as required. Underlining the need for this threat to humanity to be addressed within the UN framework and through international cooperation, Tehran declaration of NAM called upon all States to support international efforts to prevent terrorists from acquiring weapons of mass destruction and also urged all States to take and strengthen national measures, as appropriate, to prevent terrorists from acquiring weapons of mass destruction, their means of delivery and materials and technologies related to their manufacture.
On 23 August 2016, H.E. Mr. Golamali Khoshroo, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations On behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement before the Security Council Open Debate on Non-Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction stressed the need for effective measures in order to prevent the emergence new types of weapons of mass destruction, as reaffirmed by the UN GA resolution 69/27 on the prohibition of the development and manufacture of new types of weapons of mass destruction and new systems of such weapon.
The Movement has welcomed the adoption by consensus of General Assembly Resolution 70/36 entitled” Measures to prevent terrorists from acquiring weapons of mass destruction”. The concerned resolution urges all Member States to take and strengthen national measures, as appropriate, to prevent terrorists from acquiring weapons of mass destruction, their means of delivery and materials and technologies related to their manufacture and encourages cooperation among and between Member States and relevant regional and international organizations for strengthening national capacities in this regard. In keeping with the terms of the aforementioned GA Resolution 70/36 on 7 December 2016, NAM has called upon all Member States to support international efforts to prevent terrorists from acquiring weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery.
NAM States Parties to the Biological Weapons Convention emphasize its important role in the international legal architecture related to Weapons of Mass Destruction, and in particular, in the total prohibition on all biological and toxin weapons, and reaffirm that the possibility of any use of bacteriological (biological) agents and toxins as weapons should be completely excluded, and the conviction that such use would be repugnant to the conscience of humankind. They recognize the particular importance of strengthening the Convention through the resumption of the multilateral negotiations for a legally binding Protocol dealing with all Articles of the Convention, in a balanced and comprehensive manner, including through verification measures, bearing in mind that the lack of such verification regime poses a challenge to the effectiveness of the Convention, and urge the party rejecting negotiations to reconsider its policy.
Moreover, NAM States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention reaffirm the effective contribution of the Convention to international and regional peace and security, which can be enhanced through its full implementation. They express their serious concern that certain possessor States Parties did not meet their obligations regarding the deadlines for the total elimination of chemical weapons, and therefore, urge all possessor State Parties to take every necessary measure to ensure their compliance with their “Detailed plan for the destruction of Chemical Weapons remaining after the final extended destruction deadline of 29 April 2012”, in the shortest time possible, in order to uphold the credibility and integrity of the Convention.
By Dr. Pawan Mathur