THE HAGUE, Netherlands – 26 November 2018 – The annual Day of Remembrance for All Victims of Chemical Warfare was observed today in the Ieper Room of the OPCW’s Headquarters. The Ieper Room is named after the site of the first large-scale chemical weapons attack in April 1915 in Ieper, Belgium.
The Chairperson of the Conference of States Parties, H.E. Mr Yun-young Lee of the Republic of Korea opened the commemorative session. OPCW’s Director-General, H.E. Mr Fernando Arias; Secretary-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, H.E. Ms Yoka Brandt; and the Mayor of The Hague, H.E. Ms Pauline Krikke, delivered statements.
The Director-General noted that the annual ceremony to remember all victims of chemical weapons is always a “poignant time that strikes a deep chord within us”. He encouraged the audience to “take this moment to remember the victims of the past and those of the present … and to reaffirm our resolve to ensure there are none in the future”.
To pay homage to the victims of chemical warfare, the dignitaries laid wreaths and observed a minute of silence at the memorial site.
The ceremony was attended by representatives of OPCW Member States, victims’ associations and international organisations.
Each year, the Day of Remembrance for all Victims of Chemical Warfare provides an opportunity for OPCW Member States to pay tribute to the victims of chemical warfare and to reaffirm their commitment to exclude completely the possibility of the use of chemical weapons through the implementation of the provisions of the Chemical Weapons Convention.
As the implementing body for the Chemical Weapons Convention, the OPCW, with its 193 Member States, oversees the global endeavour to permanently eliminate chemical weapons. Since the Convention’s entry into force in 1997, it is the most successful disarmament treaty eliminating an entire class of weapons of mass destruction.
Over 96% of all chemical weapon stockpiles declared by possessor States have been destroyed under OPCW verification. For its extensive efforts in eliminating chemical weapons, the OPCW received the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize.