BANGLADESH MOVES TO RESTRICT CHEMICAL WEAPONS
by Syful Islam
American Reporter Correspondent
DHAKA, Bangladesh -- Bangladesh is now preparing to enact a law to regulate the proliferation of chemical weapons. The draft of the bill to control the proliferation of chemical weapons is now at a final stage, informed sources told The American Reporter this week.
The name of the law will be Chemical Weapons (Prohibition) Act of 2004, the sources said.
Bangladesh is not on the list of the countries which are known to have been producing chemical weapons. Yet the enactment of such a law has been necessary because Bangladesh is a signatory of Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC).
One of Asia's poorest and newest nations, Bangladesh signed the Chemical Weapons Convention on January 14, 1993, and ratified the CWC on January 25, 1997. While 174 countries have signed the treaty, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Niue, Somalia, Syrian Arab Republic and Vanuatu have not.
Out of 174 CWC signatory countries, 121 have already enacted the CWC regulatory act. The CWC signatory countries were directed to enact a CWC regulatory act within 1997. Bangladesh failed to enact a law in the allotted time.
On December 12, 1997, Bangladesh formed an Armed Forces Division as a national focal point for CWC. About 40 experts from the different government organizations undertook training on chemical weapons issues abroad.
A committee was formed in 2001, headed by Moudud Ahmed, a prominent barrister here, to prepare a draft on Chemical Weapons (Prohibition) Act. The committee placed its draft before cabinet committee on March 8, 2003. But the draft was prepared without any opinion from private sector. As a result, the draft was refused and the committee was directed to include a private sector expert in the committee. Then a member of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry was included in the committee.
According to the sources, the law will be enacted to control the use of chemical weapons. The prepared draft contains some rules and regulation to control the use of such weapons. The importers and users of regulated chemicals should be registered under the law, the draft suggested. The draft also contains the policy for the government if any country claims that Bangladesh is producing chemical weapons.
Sources also said that a national committee would be formed to control and monitor the use of chemical weapons.