Biological Weapons Convention

From ArticleWorld

The Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) is a signed document that has been ratified by over 169 world entities that restricts the development of biological weapons for other than medical or defensive purposes. It was opened for signing in 1972 and was officially entered into force in 1975 when the first 22 countries signed it. The number of signed entities has markedly increased since that time. It was designed to supplement the 1925 Geneva Protocol.


The BWC involves all microbial or other biological agents, their toxins and their means of delivery. Specifically, it does not restrict the scientific use of these agents but addresses the development, production of biological or toxic weapons of any kind. Preventative, protective or peaceful uses of these agents are permitted.

In addition, the quantities of these bioterroristic agents must be within the realm of possibility for its intended peaceful or protective purpose and not in amounts that could be used for biological weapons. The BWC also applies to private parties within the countries that signed the document.

Article one

Article one of the BWC is specific as to its intention. It states: “Each State Party to this Convention undertakes never in any circumstances to develop, produce, stockpile or otherwise acquire or retain: (1) Microbial or other biological agents, or toxins whatever their origin or method of production, of types and in quantities that have no justification for prophylactic, protective or other peaceful purposes. (2) Weapons, equipment or means of deliver designed to use such agents or toxins for hostile purposes or in armed conflict.”


As the BWC is written, the generation of biological agents for defensive purposes is allowed. Many people both inside and outside of the U.S. are questioning whether the U.S. is using this clause as a means of producing biologically-based weapons of mass destruction by illegally claiming them to be for defensive purposes only. Additionally, countries such as Iraq were invaded under the mistaken belief that they held stockpiles of biological weapons. This resulted in war between Iraq, the U.S. and other allies, when, in fact, no biological weapons were found.