Chemical Weapons Convention - 1993
During the Iran-Iraq war, chemical attacks from both sides clearly indicated the absence and necessity for a ban on chemical weapons. Shortly after the Biological and Toxic Weapons Convention, efforts to draft a ban on chemical weapons began. Negotiations stalled but resumed in 1986 when the USSR accepted provisions for systematic inspections at chemical weapon storage facilities, destruction of production facilities, and declarations and routine inspections at commericial and industrial sites. The Chemical Weapons Convention finally entered into force on April 29, 1997. Full compliance is expected by 2007. At the beginning of 2002, the Chemical Weapons Convention had 145 member states.
What Does It Ban?
The Chemical Weapons Convention bans the development, production, acquisition, stockpiling, retention, or use of chemical weapons. It requires member states to destroy chemical weapons and production facilities under its control, including any chemical weapons on the territory of another state party.
Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)
The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, established in 1997, is the enforcement agency of the Chemical Weapons Convention. Their main purpose is to eventually dismantle all chemical weapons, effectively eliminating an entire category of weapons of mass destruction. As of May 21, 2005, there are 168 member states of the Chemical Weapons Convention, and therefore the OPCW. The OPCW attempts to convince nations that have not yet joined the Convention to do so, confirm the destruction of existing chemical weapons, prevent the misuse of commercial chemicals to produce chemical weapons, provide protection to member states from chemical attacks, and promote peaceful uses of chemistry.
Chemical weapons inspectors from the OPCW checked the Fauji Jordan Fertilizer plant (shown above) in Pakistan on April 23, 2003