Statement by Director-General Fernando Arias: Commemoration of the 1988 Halabja Chemical Weapons Attack

16 March 2020

16 March 1988 will forever be a solemn day for the international community and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

On this day, chemical weapons were used in a horrendous crime against humanity that befell thousands of men, women, and children in Halabja. 

We mark this day not only as a sign of the eternal respect that we hold for the victims, but also as a moment to recognise the international community’s commitment to ridding the world of chemical weapons.

In remembering this atrocity, we are also reminded that this tragic event spurred international efforts to conclude the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC).

The CWC is a bond shared by 193 countries to exclude completely the possibility of the use of chemical weapons. Today, let us recommit ourselves to this noble aim to ensure that future generations will be spared the suffering that occurred in Halabja.

On behalf of the Organisation, I wish to offer our profound condolences to the residents of Halabja and the people of Iraq and to renew our determination to a realising a world free of chemical weapons.