Committee: Disarmament and International Security Committee
Topic 1: Banning the development, possession and use of Chemical Weapons
Chemical Weapons are designed to injure and eventually kill civilians and soldiers. Chemical weapons have no mercy on innocent children, agriculture and livestock, causing severe damage to sources of food of local people and causing long-lasting effects. These weapons date back to 600 BC, when water supplies were poisoned, all the way to the recent 2017 chemical attack in Syria.
The first successful attempt to ban the usage of chemical weapons was made after the horrific scenes of the consequences of the usage of chemical weapons after World War 1. Geneva Protocol, signed in 1925 by 196 States, restricts “the use in war of asphyxiating, poisonous or other gases, and of all analogous liquids, materials or devices”.
Even though it banned the usage of chemical weapons, the 1925 document failed to address the production, storage, testing, and transfer of the forbidden weapons.
After World War 2, number of attempts took place in order to go further with ban of chemical weapons. The latest and the most successful was the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), officially known as the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction. The aim of CWC is total chemical weapons disarmament. Signatory states must destroy all their chemical weapons and their production facilities. 69,059 of 72,524 (95%) metric tonnes of chemical components have been destroyed as for today. Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is a verification body monitoring implementation of terms of the treaty. Pursuant to the Convention, inspections are regularly carried out on State Parties to verify compliance.
Protection of peace, stability and human rights; sustainable development of the country and providing security and safety to its citizens have always been the core priorities of Spain, as permanent member of the United Nations.
Spain is deeply concerned about the use of chemical weapons and has always affirmed the necessity of immediate disarmament. Spain is the first country to sign and rarify Chemical Weapons Convention in 1994. To take it even further Spain has set up the National Authority for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in order to manage all the terms of CWC.
Spain has also invested into new laboratories and research facilities in order to increase analytical capacity of materials related to Chemical Weapons Convention. These laboratories were built under the auspices of CWC, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and coordinated by the Laboratory for the Verification of Chemical Weapons (LAVEMA). This new OPCW project was sponsored by the Government of Spain
Moreover, Spain has supported the destruction of Libyan chemical weapons in 2017.
The Spanish Government responded to OPCW’s request by providing monetary, manpower and technical support for the project, which leaded to elimination of Libyan chemical weapon in Germany in 2018. This contribution illustrates commitment of Spain to support any actions leading to leading for the main aim of CWC — the world free from chemical weapons.
Even though CWC has worked out quite efficiently, there are still issues that the global community faces. CWC cannot enforce its regulations over countries that have not rarified the treaty, including Egypt, North Korea, South Sudan and Israel. Furthermore, CWC fails to impose its provisions with respect to terrorist groups. And last but not least, the OPCW can only act after the violation is found and under no circumstances may CWC use military force.
In order to totally eliminate chemical weapons, OPCW should reinforce countries to bad the development, usage and transfer of chemical weapons. It is very important to force all the countries in the world to rarify the Convention in order to have peace in our world. Furthermore, Spain believes that inspections have to be carried out more frequently, especially in the least stable regions, such as Syria. CWC, along with OPCW and the UN should pressurize regions, which did not sign or rarefy CWC, in order to avoid devastating consequences seen during World Wars and eliminate this abhorrent weapon of mass destruction, making the Earth more peaceful.
See Matthew Linkie, The Defense Threat Reduction Agency: A Note on the United States’ Approach to Threat of Chemical and Biological Warfare, 16 J. CONTEMP. HEALTH L. & POL’Y 531, 552-53 (2000); Kevin J. Fitzgerald,
The Chemical Weapons Convention: Inadequate Protection from Chemical Warfare, 20 SUFFOLK TRANSNAT’L L. REV. 425, 446-47 (1997); Sewell, supra note 7, at 379.