What are chemical weapons?
- The term chemical weapon was applied to any toxic chemical that can cause death, injury or temporary incapacitation through its chemical action.
- The weapons were mostly liquid in form but became gaseous when they were released.
- Mustard gas and phosgene gas were two of the well-known chemical weapons.
- Lung searing, blindness, death and maiming were some of the commonly inflicted effects of these weapons.
What is mustard gas?
Mustard gas, or sulfur mustard is a chemical agent that causes severe burning of the skin, eyes and respiratory system. It is most easily recognized by its trademark "mustardy" odor and is generally colorless in its gaseous form.
Wide use of chemical weapons in history
- During World War I, Germany had first used poisonous gases (chemicals) on the French Army during the battle of Ypres.
- The use of chemical weapons in this war had inflicted 1.3 million casualties in the army and about 2,60,000 civilian casualties.
- Iraq had used chemical weapons in Iran during their war in the 1980s.
- Iraq had also used them against Kurdish residents in 1988.
What is the Chemical Weapons Convention?
- The Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) was an arms control treaty which outlawed the production, stockpiling, and use of chemical weapons.
- It was administered by Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), an intergovernmental organization based in Netherlands.
- The convention held the power for systematic evaluation of chemical production facilities as well as to investigate allegations of use and production of chemical weapons.
Countries which had stockpiles of chemical weapons
- Out of the 192 signatories of CWC, 8 countries had reportedly declared they had chemical weapons.
- Albania, South Korea, India, Libya and Syria had completed the destruction of their stockpiles. Russia and U.S. had the largest stockpiles and are in the process of destruction.
- Iraq had pledged but was yet to start the destruction.
- Fourteen countries had declared they have chemical weapons production facilities.
OPCW to probe mustard gas use by ISIS
- Islamic State militants had allegedly used chemical weapon mustard gas against Kurdish forces in Iraq.
- A team of inspectors from OPCW were to go to Iraq soon to determine if the allegations were true.
- Kurdish authorities said that blood samples of 35 troops of Erbil had tested positive for mustard gas.
- Officials said that chemicals weapons were used by ISIS on four separate occasions.
Current statistics of chemical weapons
As on July 2015, 65,302 metric tonnes or 90%, of the world's declared stockpile of 72,525 metric tonnes of chemical agent was verifiably destroyed.
India condemns use of chemical weapons
- Member of Parliament- Abhishek Banerjee condemned the use chemical weapons anywhere or by anyone.
- Speaking at the United Nations General Assembly, he said that the international norm against the use of chemical weapons must not be breached.
- He said that destruction of chemical weapons was the primary goal of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and that India was committed towards this goal.