"The horrific use of chemical weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic in 2013 casts a shadow over this year’s commemoration. I cannot forget the deeply shocking images I saw. The use of chemical weapons in Syria was a deplorable offense against humanity."
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addresses the opening of the Third Review Conference of the States Parties of the Chemical Weapons Convention, being held 8-19 April 2013, in The Hague, the Netherlands. (Credit: UN Photo/Rick Bajornas)
The Conference of the States Parties at its Tenth Session (paragraph 23.3 of C-10/5, dated 11 November 2005) decided that a memorial Day of Remembrance for all Victims of Chemical Warfare would be observed on 29 April each year — the date in 1997 on which the Chemical Weapons Convention entered into force.
This commemoration will provide an opportunity to pay tribute to the victims of chemical warfare, as well as to reaffirm the commitment of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to the elimination of the threat of chemical weapons, thereby promoting the goals of peace, security, and multilateralism.
The Third Review Conference of States Parties to the Chemical Convention held 8-19 April 2013 in the Hague, the Netherlands, adopted by consensus a political declaration that confirms the “unequivocal commitment” of the States Parties to the global chemical weapons ban, and a comprehensive review of CWC implementation since the last Review Conference in 2008 that also maps out the OPCW’s priorities for the coming five years.
Delivering his remarks to the Conference the Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon stressed that progress in achieving the total destruction of chemical weapons must be complemented by efforts to gain universal adherence to the Convention. Eight countries remain outside of the Convention – Angola, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the Arab Republic of Egypt, Israel, Myanmar, Somalia, South Sudan, and the Syrian Arab Republic. He called upon each and every one of these countries to join the rest of the international community without further delay. He also urged all those in a position to do so to show political leadership and encouraged these countries to join the Convention.