Bioweapons Convention

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Signatory states of the Bioweapons Convention
  • signed and ratified
  • signed, not ratified
  • just signed
  • Non-member
  • The Biological Weapons Convention , with the full title Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Storage of Bacteriological (biological) weapons and toxin weapons and on the destruction of such weapons , is an international treaty adopted on December 16, 1971 by the General Assembly of the United Nations, which regulates the production and to prevent the spread of biological weapons . She's with the 1993 completed the Chemical Weapons Convention , a successor agreement to the Geneva Protocol of 1925 to the first time the use of poisonous gases and bacteriological methods of warfare was contractually prohibited.


    Although the use of biological or chemical weapons has been prohibited under international law by the Geneva Protocol since 1925 and such weapons were only used by the Japanese army during World War II , the provisions of the protocol were viewed by the United Nations, which was founded after the war, as inadequate. This applied in particular to restrictions to prevent rearmament and the further spread of these weapons, but also to the development of new types of weapons based on new findings in biological and chemical research. Both areas were not regulated by the Geneva Protocol, as its provisions were limited to a prohibition of use. The United Nations Disarmament Committee therefore worked out a draft for a corresponding convention on behalf of the UN General Assembly , which should supplement and reinforce the provisions of the Geneva Protocol.

    A uniform agreement for both biological and chemical weapons analogous to the Geneva Protocol , however, as well as the joint conclusion of two corresponding agreements in 1971, proved to be impracticable, as no agreement on restrictions on chemical weapons could be reached in the corresponding negotiations . In contrast, the direct military use of biological weapons was considered to be limited at the time, so that even a one-sided massive armament in this area was not expected to provide any strategic advantage in the context of the Cold War . For this reason, an agreement was reached regarding a ban on biological weapons.

    The convention has been signable since April 10, 1972 and entered into force on March 26, 1975. Review conferences have been held every five years since its graduation. However, since the agreement does not contain any specific arms control agreements, effective monitoring of compliance has proven to be impractical. Attempts to solve this problem by means of an additional protocol that would include disclosure obligations and control inspections have so far failed.

    Content and acceptance

    The convention, which consists of 15 articles, obliges the contracting parties under no circumstances to develop, manufacture, store or otherwise acquire weapons based on microorganisms or other biological substances or toxins . The same applies to weapons and weapon systems, the purpose of which is the use of such substances in the context of an armed conflict . In addition, the contracting states are also obliged to destroy all stocks in their possession or to use them for peaceful purposes and not to pass on such weapons to other states. The states are required to cooperate appropriately with one another in the implementation and monitoring of compliance with the agreement. The obligations arising from the Geneva Protocol of 1925 are expressly not restricted by the Convention. This is relevant as the Convention does not directly prohibit the use of biological weapons.

    As of August 14, 2019, the accession of Tanzania , 183 states are parties to the agreement, including all five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council with the United States , Russia , the United Kingdom , France and the People's Republic of China . The United States, Great Britain and Russia act as depositaries of the agreement. Austria acceded to the agreement on August 10, 1973, Switzerland on May 4, 1976 and Germany on April 7, 1983.

    The non-signatory states primarily include states in Africa such as Egypt , Chad , Djibouti , Eritrea , Comoros , Namibia , Somalia , South Sudan as well as Israel , Syria , Haiti and island states in the Pacific, Micronesia , Tuvalu and Kiribati .


    • Dietrich Schindler , Jiří Toman (Eds.): The Laws of Armed Conflicts: A Collection of Conventions, Resolutions, and Other Documents. Third revised edition. Sijthoff & Noordhoff International Publishers, Alphen aan den Rijn 1988, ISBN 90-247-3306-5 , pp. 137-142

    Web links

    Individual evidence

    1. ^ Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on Their Destruction. Retrieved September 3, 2020 .
    2. BWC / MSP / 2019 /. Retrieved September 3, 2020 .