This page is not included in the tour.
Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention
The Biological and Toxic Weapons Convention bans the use of biological weapons and expands on the Geneva Protocol of 1925. In April 1972, the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention opened for signature, and on March 26, 1975, it entered into force. The treaty was the first international treaty to ban an entire class of weapons. At the beginning of 2002, the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention had 162 signatories and 144 member states. The US, UK, and the Russian Federation are the three depositary governments for the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention.
What Does It Ban?
The scope of the weapons prohibited is outlined in Article I of the BWC:
Each State Party to this Convention undertakes never in any circumstances to develop, produce, stockpile or otherwise acquire or retain:
1. Microbial or other biological agents, or toxins whatever their origin or method of production, of types and in quantities that have no justification for prophylactic, protective or other peaceful purposes;
2. Weapons, equipment or means of delivery designed to use such agents or toxins for hostile purposes or in armed conflict.
Article I states that all member states of the treaty are prohibited from the development, production, stockpiling, acquisition, or transfer of biological agents or toxins in "quantities that have no justification for prophylactic, protective, and other peaceful purposes". The treaty also prohibits "weapons, equipment, or means of delivery designed to use such agents or toxins for hostile purposes or in armed conflict".
Enforcement of the Treaty
The absence of a formal enforcement agency hinders the effectiveness of the Convention. However, in 1994, an ad hoc group was formed to draft guidelines for the convention. However, the group lacked support from key member states. On December 7, 2001, the last day of the 2001 review conference, the US proposed to disband the ad hoc group. The Bush administration decided that the proposed protocol by the ad hoc group did not meet national interests of the US, claiming that the Convention would interfere with private biological industries. Unlike many other arms control conventions, the BWC does apply to private parties.
- Cirincione, Joseph. Deadly Arsenals. Washington D.C.: The Brookings Institution Press, 2002. ISBN 0-87003-193-7
- Biological Weapons Convention. 6 May 2006 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biological_Weapons_Convention>
- The Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention Website. 6 May 2006 <http://www.opbw.org/>