Bolstered efforts needed to combat chemical weapons – Secretary-General

29 April 2009

Observing the Day of Remembrance for all Victims of Chemical Warfare today, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appealed for greater efforts prevent the deadly weapons from falling into the hands of terrorists.

The Day coincides with the 12th anniversary of the Chemical Weapons Convention – which provides for the eradication of these instruments of mass destruction – entering into force. To date, 188 States have members of the pact.

“Governments, international organizations and the private sector must all join forces to translate the Convention’s provisions into action,” Mr. Ban said in a message.

The Day is an “occasion to recall some of the greatest atrocities in human history, to assess our progress in preventing any recurrence, and to pledge to continue advancing this cause in the future,” he said.

The suffering of victims of chemical warfare “must be preserved in our collective memory,” Mr. Ban stressed, adding that their memories will best be honoured by implementing the Convention.

He pledged the United Nations’ continued cooperation with the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the international community to work towards putting the pact into practice, and urged States which have yet to ratify the Convention to do so.

“On this Remembrance Day, let us honour the victims of chemical warfare by reaffirming our commitment to build a world where, in the worlds of the Convention, achievements in the field of chemistry are used exclusively for the benefit of mankind,” the Secretary-General said.

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