HC Deb 10 May 1988 vol 133 cc104-5W
Mr. Boyes

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list those nations and organisations which have employed chemical weapons in the past 10 years; and which international statutes they have been adjudged to have violated.

Mr. Mellor

I have been asked to reply.

There have been a large number of reports of the use of chemical weapons over the last 10 years, although many have not been confirmed. Iraqi forces have repeatedly used chemical weapons against Iranian forces in the Gulf conflict. There has also been evidence of the use of chemical weapons in Afghanistan and south-east Asia in the early 1980s, although independent on-site investigation did not prove possible.

The use of chemical weapons in war is prohibited by the 1925 Geneva protocol, to which approximately 110 states are currently party. About a third of these states have reserved the right to retaliate against first use.

Main allegations on CBW use 1977–1988
Laotian and Vietnamese forces in Laos 1977–1981
Vietnamese forces in Kanpuchea 1978–1984, 1986 and1987
United States covert action (CIA) in Cuba 1978–1981
Vietnamese and Chinese forces during Chinese invasion February 1979
Soviet forces in Afghanistan 1980–84 (and 1986)
Ethiopian forces against Eritrean sessionists and in the conflict with Somalia Summer 1980-April 1981 (and continuing)
Iraqi forces in Iran November 1980–1988
Salvadoran Army and National Guard in El Salvador 1981 and 1984
South African forces in Angola and Namibia December 1981 (and continuing)
Burmese army against insurgents 1982 and 1986
Guatemalan forces in civil war July 1982
Indonesian forces in East Timor October 1984
Philippines Armed Forces against insurgents in Mindanao November 1984
Nicaraguan forces against contra guerilla forces December 1984 and February 1986
Angolan (Cuban/Soviet) forces against UNITA positions September-November 1983 and 1987
Sudanese Peoples' Liberation Army against Sudanese Army January 1986
Chadian Government against rebel forces April 1986
Libyan forces in Chad December 1986 and September 1987
Mozambique forces against RENAMO rebels December 1986
Sudan December 1986
Filipino terrorists against Government forces September 1987


Most of these allegations are unsubstantiated and/or are made by less than partial observers; for instance, outside Governments supporting one of the combatants. Several of these allegations have been repeated over the last decade and each separate report is not reproduced here.