Chemical Weapons Convention
The Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) comprises a Preamble, 24 Articles, and 3 Annexes—the Annex on Chemicals, the Verification Annex, and the Confidentiality Annex.
The Convention aims to eliminate an entire category of weapons of mass destruction by prohibiting the development, production, acquisition, stockpiling, retention, transfer or use of chemical weapons by States Parties. States Parties, in turn, must take the steps necessary to enforce that prohibition in respect of persons (natural or legal) within their jurisdiction.
All States Parties have agreed to chemically disarm by destroying any stockpiles of chemical weapons they may hold and any facilities which produced them, as well as any chemical weapons they abandoned on the territory of other States Parties in the past. States Parties have also agreed to create a verification regime for certain toxic chemicals and their precursors (listed in Schedules 1, 2 and 3 in the Annex on Chemicals to the CWC) in order to ensure that such chemicals are only used for purposes not prohibited.
A unique feature of the CWC is its incorporation of the 'challenge inspection', whereby any State Party in doubt about another State Party's compliance can request the Director-General to send an inspection team. Under the CWC's 'challenge inspection' procedure, States Parties have committed themselves to the principle of 'any time, anywhere' inspections with no right of refusal.
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OPCW is the fastest growing international disarmament organisation in history. The United Nations has called upon all States to join the CWC and to rid the world of the threat chemical weapons pose to international security.
See the evolution of the Status of Participation in the Convention.