Chemical weapons

The Chemical Weapons Convention

The Convention on Chemical Weapons prohibits the production and the use of chemical weapons. It was signed in 1993 and ratified by Belgium in 1997. To date, 193 countries have acceded to the Convention.

The implementation of the treaty is monitored by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). This organization supervises the dismantling of the existing chemical weapons arsenals. To detect possible clandestine weapons programs, the OPCW conducts inspections at companies and other institutions that handle certain chemicals.


Belgian policy

Chemical weapons were first used on Belgian territory, more specifically on the battlefield near Ypres in 1915. In the Westhoek, every year 200 tons of non-exploded munitions from the First World War are found, 5% of which are chemical ammunitions. Belgium regularly informs the OPCW about the discovery of these chemical weapons and their destruction by the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company of the Belgian Army.

Unfortunately chemical weapons are still used in the 21st century: during conflict, such as the Syrian civil war, and in assassination attempts, such as against the North Korean Kim Jong-nam and against the Russians S. Skripal (in Salisbury, UK) and A. Navalny.

The use of chemical weapons is unacceptable to Belgium. Belgium works towards strengthening the international standard against chemical weapons, including by fighting against impunity. Europe has sanctioned those responsible for chemical weapons use in Syria and Russia. Belgium is part of the International Partnership against impunity for the use of chemical weapons.

Belgium donated two million euros for the creation of a new OPCW laboratory that will conduct chemical analyses and will train scientists from around the world.