THE HAGUE, Netherlands— 30 November 2022— The Day of Remembrance for All Victims of Chemical Warfare was observed with a minute of silence during the Twenty-Seventh Session of the Conference of the States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CSP-27) in The Hague, Netherlands. The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Member States and its Technical Secretariat reaffirmed their unwavering solidarity with all victims of chemical warfare and their commitment to the norm against the use of chemical weapons.
All 193 States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) have voluntarily and solemnly committed never under any circumstances, to develop, produce, acquire, stockpile, transfer or use chemical weapons. To date, more than 99% of all declared chemical weapons have been destructed under the OPCW verification regime and destruction of all declared stockpiles will have been completed in 2023.
“Concrete progress has been made in the last 25 years towards the ambitious goals set by the Chemical Weapons Convention. Yet, we cannot afford to be complacent. Our ultimate goal, aimed at completely eradicating the possibility that chemical weapons might again be used, will undoubtedly remain an open-ended agenda,” said OPCW Director-General, Ambassador Fernando Arias.
“While we take this moment to remember all victims, let us recommit to the object and purpose of the Convention and to the OPCW’s vision of a world free from these abhorrent weapons,” he added.
The OPCW supports a number of endeavours that pay homage to the memory of victims and uphold the dignity of survivors. In 2011, the Conference of the States Parties established the International Support Network for Victims of Chemical Weapons and a voluntary trust fund for this purpose. The OPCW works closely with victims’ associations to bring visibility and awareness of the history of chemical warfare and provide resources and information for the treatment of survivors.
Video messages from civil society representatives were projected on the sidelines of the CSP-27. NGO participants discussed ways to ensure that adequate humanitarian aid is provided to chemical weapons victims and that their voices are heard by raising awareness of the issues they face.
The Day of Remembrance for All Victims of Chemical Warfare commemoration provides an opportunity to pay tribute to the victims of chemical warfare, as well as to reaffirm OPCW’s commitment to eliminating the chemical weapons threat and promoting the goals of peace, security and multilateralism.
In 2013, the Third Review Conference of States Parties to the CWC held in the Hague, 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.
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 99% of all declared chemical weapon stockpiles have been destroyed under OPCW verification. For its extensive efforts in eliminating chemical weapons, the OPCW received the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize.