Burma ratifies treaty on bio weapons

Italian firefighters dressed in CBRN suits set up a perimeter of warning signs. | Photo courtesy of dvb.nbo

Burma has pledged its support to the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) by becoming the 171st country to ratify the treaty on Dec. 1.

The BWC prohibits the use, development and stockpiling of biological weapons. It was created in 1972 and has been enforced since 1975. It was the first multilateral disarmament agreement that helped curb the use of biological agents in war.

Robert Wood, U.S. ambassador and special representative to the Conference of Disarmament, commended Burma for taking this step forward and offered assistance in implementing any local and national legislation to reflect the country's acceptance of the treaty.

“Every country that joins the BWC sends a powerful message of solidarity with the international community that the possession and use of biological weapons should not be an option," Wood said. "Should Myanmar so desire, the United States stands ready to assist with implementing the convention in its domestic laws, regulations and practices, and in other BWC-related areas."

The treaty does not prohibit the research into biological agents outright. Instead, research is limited to preventative measures and treatments, or other peaceful purposes.