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"I salute the Arms Control Association … for its keen vision of the goals ahead and for its many efforts to identify and to promote practical measures that are so vitally needed to achieve them."

– Amb. Nobuyasu Abe
Former UN Undersecretary General for Disarmament Affairs
January 28, 2004
Chemical weapons

Reinforcing the Norm Against Chemical Weapons: The April 20-22 Conference of States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention

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May 10, 2021
10:00 AM Eastern Time

The Chemical Weapons Convention Coalition, in cooperation with the Arms Control Association, hosted this briefing to review the results and implications of the 25th Conference of States Parties for the work of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the CWC regime. 

Opening remarks were provided by H.E. Fernando Arias, Director-General of the OPCW. Following, we heard from 

  • Amb. Lisa Helfand, Permanent Representative of Canada to the OPCW
  • Amb. Gudrun Lingner, Permanent Representative of Germany to the OPCW
  • Dr. Jean Pascal Zanders, independent disarmament and security researcher at The Trench
  • Dr. Paul Walker, moderator, Coordinator, Chemical Weapons Convention Coalition

KEY QUOTES

Director-General Fernando Arias:
“The civil society community of non-governmental organizations, researchers, scientists, and other relevant stakeholders are essential partners in achieving the OPCW’s mission and raising awareness about the risks posed by certain chemicals. The Chemical Weapons Convention Coalition has played a critical role in this regard by coordinating and supporting civil society engagement with the OPCW through the Conference of the State’s Parties.”
“The report of the Fact Finding Mission related to the incident in Douma on the 7th of April 2018 is still the object of discussion between some member states. The Fact Finding Mission released its report on the 1st of March, 2019. In its report, the Fact Finding Mission concluded reasonable grounds that the use of chlorine as a weapon likely took place. ... None of the 193 member states of the organization have challenged the findings of the Fact Finding Mission that chlorine was found on the scene of the attack in Douma.”
“As we count down to mark the 25th anniversary of the organization in 2022, we need to acknowledge that our world today is very different to the one in 1997 when it was founded. To meet the challenges, it is imperative for us to keep adapting and evolving in an ever changing global landscape. Preventing re-emergence will require the commitment and the efforts of all stakeholders - civil society, government, and chemical industry.”

RESOURCES
The following resources provide supplemental information on the topic of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and strengthening the norm against chemical weapons use. 

If you wish to remain informed on this or other topics, including future webinars, please sign up and indicate your interests at www.armscontrol.org/get-the-latest

 

Description: 

 this briefing on the results and implications of the 25th Conference of States Parties for the work of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the CWC regime.

Subject Resources:

Huge Advance in Chemical Weapons Arms Control

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The Week Ahead Sept. 30-Oct. 4: Iran diplomacy and Syria CW inspections

This bulletin highlights significant events in the world of arms control in the coming week, as compiled by staff and friends of the Arms Control Association. (Send your suggestions for events to be covered here .) - Jefferson Morley, Senior Editorial Consultant, Arms Control Today . Netanyahu to Huddle With Obama On Monday morning, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will meet with President Obama at the White House. On the agenda are Israeli-Palestinian negotiations and Israel's concerns about rapidly evolving nuclear diplomacy with Iran. For more on Iran, see "Solving the Iranian...

Hard Evidence from the UN Inspectors Point to Assad's CW Use

By Greg Thielmann and Daryl G. Kimball UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon receives the UN report on chemical weapons use in Syria from Ake Sellstrom, head of the investigation team. The evidence in the United Nations inspectors' report on the use of chemical weapons in Syria released today -- particularly the findings on the munitions and their trajectory – provides additional and substantial evidence that Assad's forces were responsible for a large-scale attack involving rockets armed with Sarin nerve gas in the Damascus suburbs on August 21. The report further documents numerous casualties...

U.S.-Russian Joint Framework for Elimination of Syrian Chemical Weapons

By Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director, Arms Control Association Today, the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov reached agreement on a detailed plan for the expeditious accounting, inspection, control, and elimination of Syria's sizable arsenal of chemical weapons, with provision for enforcement by the UN Security Council. Among other things, the plan calls on Syria to provide a full declaration of its stockpile "within a week" and "to achieve accountability for their chemical weapons, the Syrians must provide the OPCW, the UN, and other supporting...

Syria, the Iraq-Iran War, and the CW Taboo

By Greg Thielmann BAGHDAD, IRAQ - (VIDEO STILL) U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Iraqi President Saddam Hussein shake hands December 20, 1983 in Baghdad. Rumsfeld met with Hussein during the war between Iran and Iraq as an envoy for former U.S. President Ronald Reagan. Rumsfeld made no reference to Iraq's use of chemical weapons, according to detailed official notes on the meeting. (Photo by Getty Images) As the international community seeks to craft an appropriate response to the Syrian government's August 21 use of chemical weapons (CW), ghosts from the Iran-Iraq War haunt the...

Why Is the Use of Chemical Weapons So Repulsive?

A UN inspector at one of the sites of the Aug. 21 chemical weapons attack in the Damascus suburb of Zamalka. By Daryl G. Kimball There are no international laws against war itself, but there are rules about how wars can and cannot be conducted. Chemical weapons are particularly gruesome, inhumane, and indiscriminate--affecting combatants and noncombatant civilians alike. For these and other reasons, their use has been outlawed worldwide for over 90 years--since the horrors of WWI trench warfare and the Geneva Protocol of 1925 , which is one of the most important pillars of international law...

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