On 28 June 2013 the Chemical Weapons Convention entered into force for Somalia, making it the 189th State Party to the treaty. Somalia had earlier deposited its instrument of ratification with the Secretary-General of the United Nations, on 29 May, and 30 days later the Convention entered into force for the country. This has reduced to seven the number of States that have not yet joined.*
The OPCW Director-General, Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü, welcomed the development as another significant step toward achieving universality of the Convention and thereby strengthening global peace and security.
“The entry into force of the CWC for Somalia draws us ever closer to our goal of realizing a universal ban on chemical weapons, and we call upon those States that have not yet adhered to the Convention to do so without delay,” the Director-General said. He noted that in the Third Review Conference that was held in April, States Parties strongly affirmed the crucial importance of achieving universality by bringing all countries into the Convention as soon as possible.
The Convention aims to eliminate an entire category of weapons of mass destruction by prohibiting the development, production or use of chemical weapons by States Parties, which in turn must take the steps necessary to enforce that prohibition within their jurisdiction. All States Parties are obliged to declare and destroy any stockpiles of chemical weapons they may hold and any facilities which produced them, as well as any chemical weapons they abandoned on the territory of other States Parties in the past. Nearly 80% of all declared chemical weapons have thus far been destroyed under international verification by the OPCW.
Somalia will now be eligible to benefit from the OPCW’s international cooperation and assistance programmes, which provide support in drafting and enacting the legislation necessary to implement the Convention at the national level. This legislation enables States Parties to detect, prosecute and punish any breach of the chemical weapons ban committed on their territory or by their nationals anywhere in the world. States Parties also receive training and may draw upon the Organisation’s expertise to enhance their national civil protection in the event of a chemical weapons attack or the threat of such an attack.
* Angola, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Egypt, Israel, Myanmar, South Sudan, Syria