Each year, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) commemorates the tragic events that befell the citizens of Sardasht on 28 June. On this day, chemical weapons brought death, pain and suffering to the residents of Sardasht. Many of them perished. The survivors were forever changed by the scars of their injuries, and the loss of their loved ones.
Although time passes, our responsibility to the victims of chemical weapons does not fade. Our dedication and firm commitment to ensure that future generations will never endure their suffering grows only stronger.
To honour those lost and the families and loved ones left behind, we must seize this moment to firmly and unequivocally denounce any use of chemical weapons, anywhere and by anyone, at any time.
It is incumbent upon the international community to persist in its efforts to halt the use of these inhumane and indiscriminate weapons and to prevent them from ever re-emerging.
The Chemical Weapons Convention remains the bulwark against chemical weapons and its enduring strength provides the basis for eliminating this terrible threat. We are close to accomplishing the disarmament aims of the Convention. However, we must remain vigilant to ensure our gains are preserved.
On this solemn occasion, I therefore call on all countries to renew commitment to a future where chemicals are only ever used for the benefit of humanity and never to its detriment. We owe this to the citizens of Sardasht, to all victims of chemical weapons, and to the generations to come.