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Protection against Chemical Weapons

The provisions on protection against chemical weapons and assistance in case of the use or threat of use of chemical weapons are contained in Article X. This article was introduced quite late in the CWC negotiations, in around 1990. Perhaps for this reason, the provisions relating to protection and assistance contain only limited details on how they are to be implemented.

Each State Party has the right to conduct research into, and to develop, produce, acquire, transfer and use protection against chemical weapons. To facilitate this, States Parties are accorded the right to participate in the fullest possible exchange of equipment, material and information relating to protection. A corresponding obligation on other States Parties to facilitate such exchanges is also specified.

Some States Parties fear that the development of protection against chemical weapons may be a possible way of facilitating the proliferation of such weapons. For example, access to better detection methods and better personal protective equipment could simplify safety problems during the production of chemical weapons. These States Parties take the position that the provisions in Article X on the exchange of protective equipment and information must be read in conjunction with Article I, paragraph 1, which, inter alia, prohibits States Parties from assisting any activity that could contribute to the proliferation of chemical weapons.

The same type of concern was recognised by the drafters of the Convention. In order to increase transparency in protection matters, and thus to make it more difficult for a State Party to disguise the development of chemical weapons as a protection activity, Article X, paragraph 4, requires States Parties to annually provide information on their national protective programmes.

Article X, paragraph 5 sets forth two ways in which the Secretariat can assist States Parties to improve their protective capacities. In accordance with this paragraph, the Secretariat shall establish a data bank containing information on protection against chemical weapons, which is readily accessible to requesting States Parties. Furthermore, States Parties can also request the Secretariat to provide expert advice in implementing protection programmes. To this end, a "protection network" has been established, consisting of technical experts from several States Parties. Upon request, the Secretariat also gives national and regional courses on various aspects of protection against chemical weapons.


The information contained in the attached documents is for information purposes only, and compiled from various sources in order to raise general awareness. Read the disclaimer.