THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 24 April 2017 — Police first responders from Latin America and the Caribbean attended the first-ever advanced regional training offered by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), held from 3-7 April in Bogotá, Colombia.
The training included sessions on toxicology, the use of individual protective equipment, methods of monitoring, detection and decontamination, and medical and casualty treatments. Other essential aspects of the course addressed challenges associated with collecting and managing chemical evidence from crime scenes.
“Through this training, the OPCW aims to augment the capabilities of police first responders from Latin America and the Caribbean states parties to respond to potential chemical attacks or other incidents involving toxic chemicals. Graduates will assimilate into national response teams and share their knowledge with other colleagues. We encourage these experts to join the forthcoming regional network of OPCW trainees under Article X of the Chemical Weapons Convention,” expressed OPCW’s Senior Assistance and Protection Officer, Justo A. Quintero Méndez.
The 26 course participants from 14 OPCW Member States included professionals from law enforcement agencies and first responders from a range of chemical emergency response and civil defence agencies.
Instructors from Argentina and St. Lucia attended as part of the Instructor Development and Exchange Programme run by the OPCW Assistance and Protection Branch.
The Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in its coordinating role of the National Authority to the CWC and the Criminal Investigation and INTERPOL Directorate of the Colombian National Police (DIJIN) partnered with the OPCW to organise this course.
The course participants came from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and St. Lucia.
As the implementing body for the Chemical Weapons Convention, the OPCW oversees the global endeavour to permanently and verifiably eliminate chemical weapons. Since the Convention’s entry into force in 1997 – and with its 192 States Parties – it is the most successful disarmament treaty eliminating an entire class of weapons of mass destruction.
To date, nearly 95 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.