Sri Lanka signed the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) on 14th January 1993 and ratified on 19th August 1994. The CWC Act 58 of 2007 for the implementation of the convention within Sri Lanka was passed by Parliament and it was amended as CWC Amended Act No. 1 of 2019.
The CWC is the common name for the convention on Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction. The CWC is an international treaty, which seeks to eliminate this class of weapons in a verifiable manner. It primarily addresses national programmes and indirectly, the threat of Chemical Terrorism.
Sri Lanka including many countries throughout the world has companies and business involving toxic chemicals and its precursors in its productions in industrial, agricultural, research, medical and pharmaceutical and other peaceful purposes. Some of these chemicals can also be used to make Chemical Weapons. Since the existence of such Dual use chemicals, it is extremely necessary to monitor the activities of the industry related to such chemicals.
In order to fulfill obligations of CWC, Sri Lanka established a National Authority to serve as the National Focal Point for the effective liaison with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and other states parties. At present, State Ministry of National Security, Home Affairs and Disaster Management was designated as the National Authority for the Implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention at a national level.
According to this Act Sri Lanka must,
- To serve as the National Focal Point for the Convention.
- Regulate the use of Toxic chemicals.
- Conduct periodic inspections of the use of scheduled chemicals.
- Submit annual declarations on the import and use of these scheduled chemicals to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
- Fulfill obligations under the Convention.
OPCW Relation with the UN
The organization is not an agency of the United Nations, but cooperates both on policy and practical issues. On 7th September 2000 the OPCW and the United Nations signed a cooperation agreement outlining how they were to coordinate their activities. The inspectors furthermore travel on United Nations Laissez-Passer in which a sticker is placed explaining their position, and privileges and immunities. The United Nations Regional Groups also operate at the OPCW to govern the rotations on the Executive Council and provide informal discussion platform.