THE HAGUE, Netherlands–22 April 2021–The Twenty-Fifth Session of the Conference of the States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) yesterday adopted a Decision to suspend certain rights and privileges of the Syrian Arab Republic under the Convention pursuant to paragraph 2 of Article XII of the Convention.
The Decision, co-sponsored by 46 Member States (Albania, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Colombia, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and United States of America), was adopted with 102 States Parties present and voting; 87 States Parties voted yes, and 15 States Parties voted no.
In adopting the decision, the Conference condemned “in the strongest possible terms the use of chemical weapons by anyone, under any circumstances, emphasising that any use of chemical weapons […] is unacceptable and contravenes international norms and standards”.
The Decision also condemns the use of chemical weapons as reported by the OPCW’s Investigation and Identification Team (IIT), which concluded that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the Syrian Arab Republic has used chemical weapons. It also expresses deep concern that the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian Arab Republic establishes that the Syrian Arab Republic failed to declare and destroy all of its chemical weapons and chemical weapons production facilities. The Decision also expresses grave concern at the failure of the Syrian Arab Republic to respond to a request by the Executive Council of the OPCW on 9 July 2020 to take measures to redress the concerns around Syria’s declarations under the Chemical Weapons Convention within the specified time.
The Decision suspended the following rights and privileges of the Syrian Arab Republic under the Convention: a) to vote in the Conference and the Council; b) to stand for election to the Council; and c) to hold any office of the Conference, the Council, or any subsidiary organs.
The Decision requires that the Director-General regularly report to the Council and States Parties on whether the Syrian Arab Republic has completed all of the measures contained in paragraph 5 of Council decision EC-94/DEC.2. The Decision further provides that the suspended rights and privileges of the Syrian Arab Republic are reinstated by the Conference once the Director-General has reported to the Council that the Syrian Arab Republic has completed all these measures.
OPCW Director-General, H.E. Mr Fernando Arias stated: “The Conference of the States Parties reaffirmed that the use of chemical weapons is the most serious breach of the Convention there can be, as people’s lives are taken or destroyed. By deciding to address the possession and use of chemical weapons by a State Party, the Conference has reiterated the international community’s ethical commitment to uphold the norm against these weapons.”
Conference Decision C‑25/DEC.9 can be read in full via the link given below.
As the implementing body for the Chemical Weapons Convention, the OPCW, with its 193 Member States, oversees the global endeavour to permanently eliminate chemical weapons. Since the Convention’s entry into force in 1997, it is the most successful disarmament treaty eliminating an entire class of weapons of mass destruction.
Over 98% of all declared chemical weapon stockpiles have been destroyed under OPCW verification. For its extensive efforts in eliminating chemical weapons, the OPCW received the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize.
- Conference Decision C-25/DEC.9: Addressing the Possession and Use of Chemical Weapons by the Syrian Arab Republic
- Executive Council Decision EC-94/DEC.2 of 9 July 2020
- Investigation and Identification Team
- United Nations Security Council resolution 2118 of 27 September 2013
- CSP-25 Official Documents
- Rules of Procedure of the Conference of the States Parties
- Photos from CSP-25
- Syria at the OPCW
- OPCW Basics