Chemical Industry Councils and Scientific Societies Condemn Use of Chlorine as Weapon

29 November 2016

The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) and more than 40 international and national scientific chemical societies from Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and North America have condemned recently the use of toxic chemicals, especially chlorine, as weapons. “This show of support reveals that the global norm against the use of chemical weapons remains firm,” declared the Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü. 

The Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) outlaws the use of any toxic chemical as a weapon and requires its 192 States Parties to take all necessary measures to ensure that such substances are not used for prohibited purposes.

Notes of Support and Letters to the OPCW:

Background

The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) is the world authority on chemical nomenclature and terminology, and is a leader in the provision of objective scientific expertise for the resolution of critical global issues that involve every aspect of chemistry. Its Membership Network currently comprises more than 50 national member countries; 31 associated organizations; and 58 company associates interested in supporting or participating in IUPAC activities through the Committee on Chemistry and Industry.

The Federation of African Societies of Chemistry promotes the advancement of chemical sciences and the practice of chemistry in Africa.

The European Association for Chemical and Molecular Sciences represents more than 160,000 chemists from more than 40 member societies and other chemistry related organisations.

The European Chemical Industry Council, Cefic, represents 29,000 large, medium, and small chemical companies in Europe and accounts 17% of world chemical production.

The American Chemical Society (ACS) is a global non-profit scientific and educational organization, chartered by United States Congress, and has more than 157,000 chemical scientists and engineers as members making it the world’s largest scientific society.

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) represents a diverse set of companies engaged in the business of chemistry.

The Chemical Weapons Convention comprehensively prohibits the use, development, production, storage and transfer of chemical weapons. Any chemical used for warfare is considered a chemical weapon by the Convention.  The OPCW is the implementing body for the Chemical Weapons Convention and oversees the global endeavour to permanently eliminate chemical weapons.

The Convention entered into force in 1997. With 192 countries obligating themselves to the CWC, it is the most successful disarmament treaty eliminating an entire class of weapons of mass destruction. To date, nearly 94 per cent of all chemical weapon stockpiles declared by possessor states have been destroyed under OPCW verification. For its extensive efforts in eliminating chemical weapons, the OPCW received the 2013 Nobel Prize for Peace.

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