Context:

The head of the international chemical weapons watchdog, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), told the U.N. Security Council that its experts have investigated 77 allegations against Syria, and concluded that in 17 cases chemical weapons were likely or definitely used.

Relevance:

GS-II: International Relations (Important International Organizations, Policies and Agreements affecting India’s Interests)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), 1997
  2. Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)
  3. India’s Initiative – Chemical Weapons Convention Act, 2000

Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), 1997

  • The Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), officially the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction, is an arms control treaty administered by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), an intergovernmental organization based in The Hague, The Netherlands.
  • The treaty entered into force in 1997, and 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 main obligation of member states under the convention is to affect this prohibition, as well as the destruction of all current chemical weapons. All destruction activities must take place under OPCW verification.
  • As of March 2021, 193 states have become parties to the CWC and accept its obligations. Israel has signed but not ratified the agreement, while three other UN member states (Egypt, North Korea and South Sudan) have neither signed nor acceded to the treaty.
  • As of 2021, 98.39% of the world’s declared chemical weapons stockpiles had been destroyed.
  • The convention has provisions for systematic evaluation of chemical production facilities, as well as for investigations of allegations of use and production of chemical weapons based on intelligence of other state parties.
  • Most recently, the State of Palestine deposited its instrument of accession to the CWC in 2018 and in 2013, Syria acceded to the convention as part of an agreement for the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons.

Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)

  • The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is an intergovernmental organisation and the implementing body for the Chemical Weapons Convention, which entered into force in 1997.
  • The OPCW, with its 193 member states, has its seat in The Hague, Netherlands, and oversees the global endeavour for the permanent and verifiable elimination of chemical weapons.
  • The organisation promotes and verifies the adherence to the Chemical Weapons Convention, which prohibits the use of chemical weapons and requires their destruction. Verification consists both of evaluation of declarations by member states and onsite inspections.
  • The organisation was awarded the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize “for its extensive efforts to eliminate chemical weapons”.
  • The OPCW has the power to report on whether chemical weapons were used in an attack it has investigated.
  • While the OPCW is not a specialised agency of the United Nations, it cooperates both on policy and practical issues as a related organisation.

India’s Initiative – Chemical Weapons Convention Act, 2000

  • The Chemical Weapons Convention Act, 2000 was passed to implement the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), 1997.
  • Chemical Weapons Convention Act, 2000 gives effect to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction and to provide for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
  • It provided for the establishment of a National Authority for Chemical Weapons Convention or NACWC.
  • NACWC, formed in 2005, is the chief liaison between the government of India and the OPCW. NACWC is an office in the Cabinet Secretariat of the GoI.

-Source: The Hindu


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