United Nations Disarmament Yearbook 1983

image of United Nations Disarmament Yearbook 1983
The volume 8 compiles the disarmament resolutions and decisions of the General Assembly, the voting patterns in the General Assembly and the First Committee report and dates of their adoption.



Chemical and bacteriological (biological) weapons

The efforts of the international community to limit or prohibit the use of chemical and bacteriological (biological) weapons date back to 1874, when the Brussels Declaration prohibited the use of poisons and poisoned bullets in warfare. Some limitations on the use of asphyxiating or deleterious gases were imposed by the Hague Declaration, IV (2), of 1899, and the Hague Convention (IV) of 1907 confirmed the banning of poison or poisoned weapons. In spite of those instruments, chemical weapons were widely used in the First World War: according to official reports, gas casualties numbered about 1.3 million, of which 100,000 were fatal. That use of toxic gases generated so powerful a sense of outrage that countries were encouraged to adopt measures against both chemical and bacteriological (biological) weapons. The result was the Geneva Protocol of 17 June 1925,* which prohibits the use in war of asphyxiating, poisonous or other gases and of all analogous liquids, materials or devices, as well as of bacteriological methods of warfare. The Protocol has established a general rule of international law and, with some exceptions, has in practice been generally adhered to by States. As of 31 December 1983, 105 States were parties to the Protocol.


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