Consign chemical weapons to history, UN chief urges, honouring victims

30 November 2020

The United Nations Secretary-General has called for “renewed determination” to eliminate chemical weapons from the world. 

In a message commemorating the Day of Remembrance for all Victims of Chemical Warfare, on Monday, Secretary-General António Guterres said that the use of such weapons anywhere, by anyone, under any circumstances, “is intolerable and a serious violation of international law.” 

“There can be no justification for the use of these abhorrent weapons. We must remain united and determined in preventing their use, or the threat of their use. We cannot allow ourselves to become inured.” 

He also underscored that impunity for use of chemical weapons is unacceptable. 

“It is imperative that those who use, or have used, chemical weapons are identified and held accountable. That is the only way to meet our moral responsibility to the victims of chemical warfare,” the UN chief added. 

‘Assess our progress’ 

In his message, the Secretary-General said that the Day of Remembrance is an occasion to pay tribute to the victims of the inhumane weapons, to assess the progress in preventing any future use, and to renew determination to eliminate them from the world. 

“Today, let us renew our unequivocal commitment to the Chemical Weapons Convention and our support to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW),” urged Mr. Guterres. 

“Let us honour the victims of chemical warfare by pledging to consign these dreadful weapons to the pages of history.” 

The Day of Remembrance 

The Day of Remembrance for all Victims of Chemical Warfare is observed each year on 30 November or, when appropriate, the first day of the regular session of the Conference of the States Parties to the Convention.  

In addition to paying tribute to the victims of chemical warfare, the Day urges countries to exclude completely the possibility of the use of chemical weapons through the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention 

According to the OPCW, the implementing body of the Convention, over 98 per cent of all chemical weapon stockpiles declared by possessor States have been destroyed under OPCW verification. 

 

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