For information only - not an official document

25 April 2012

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon:

"When we Remind the World of the Agony Inflicted by Chemical Weapons, we Present the Most Compelling Case for Permanently Outlawing them"

Message on the Day of Remembrance for All Victims of Chemical Weapons,
29 April 2012

VIENNA, 29 April (UN Information Service) - The Day of Remembrance for All Victims of Chemical Warfare is an occasion to mourn those who have suffered from these inhumane arms and to renew our resolve to eradicate them from our world.

When we remind the world of the agony inflicted by chemical weapons, we present the most compelling case for permanently outlawing them and establishing and verifying, through the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), a comprehensive and legally binding ban.

This year marks the 15th anniversary of the entry into force of the CWC. Today, with 188 State Parties representing 98 per cent of the world's population, the Convention is standing strong. I call on the eight States remaining outside the Convention to join at the earliest possible date. There is no excuse for delays in ridding our planet of these instruments of suffering and death.

Through strong provisions, the Convention provides an effective international regime to verify the destruction of all chemical weapons stockpiles and to prevent their re-emergence. This will reduce the threat of chemical weapons terrorism and strengthen the work of the United Nations to prevent the use of weapons of mass destruction by terrorists.

The extended deadline for States parties to complete the destruction of chemical weapons is 29 April. Almost three quarters of all declared stockpiles have been destroyed. I welcome efforts by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to ensure that all chemical weapons are destroyed as soon as possible.

The OPCW is also continuously monitoring the chemical industry in an effort to prevent the re-emergence of chemical weapons. So far, the Organisation has conducted 2200 inspections in 82 countries.

As we welcome the Convention's achievements, we never let the memory of the victims fade. This Day is a time to remember them in the most meaningful way possible: by pledging to ensure that future generations never endure the scourge that these human beings suffered.

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