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Paying tribute to victims, Ban Ki-moon calls for destruction of chemical weapons

Paying tribute to victims, Ban Ki-moon calls for destruction of chemical weapons

Marking the Remembrance Day for Victims of Chemical Warfare, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called on all States to ratify the international treaty banning the deadly weapons.

The Day is “a solemn occasion for the world to pay tribute to all victims of chemical warfare, and to ensure their suffering will not be forgotten or repeated,” Mr. Ban said in a message.

Today also marks the 21st anniversary of the Chemical Weapons Convention – which provides for the eradication of these instruments of mass destruction – entering into force. All States Parties to the pact are obliged to destroy their existing stockpiles by 29 April 2012.

Currently, 183 States, representing 98 per cent of the world’s population, have signed on to the treaty.

“However, I remain gravely concerned that a number of key States have not adhered to the Convention,” Mr. Ban said, calling on nations not party to the treaty to ratify or accede to it immediately.

The memory of the victims of chemical warfare can be honoured through the total elimination of the deadly weapons as well as through worldwide adherence to the Convention, he noted.

“On this Remembrance Day, let us renew our commitment to realize a world free of chemical weapons. Let us redouble our efforts to build a safer place for this and future generations.”

Earlier this month, the Secretary-General called on States to redouble their efforts to eliminate the scourge of chemical weapons.

“Our efforts to build a world free of chemical weapons require that all States Parties adopt, enhance and strengthen the national implementation measures called for under the Convention,” Mr. Ban told the gathering, in a message delivered by Tim Caughley, Deputy Secretary-General of the Conference on Disarmament, at a meeting in The Hague, Netherlands, of countries which have ratified the pact.