UN leader marks Chemical Warfare Remembrance day

UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon. | Courtesy of the UN
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon released a statement as the April 29 Day of Remembrance for All Victims of Chemical Warfare nears.

According to the statement, this year marks the 100-year anniversary of the first large-scale uses of chemical armaments in World War I. In his statement, he lamented that despite international agreements such as the Geneva and Chemical Weapons Conventions, the list of atrocities from the use of these kinds of weapons continues to grow.

He referred to the use of chemical armaments against Syrian citizens by the government, when Sarin attacks in 2013 served as a drastic wake-up call to the international community and spurred the need for them to act. He also condemned the use of the weapons in light of recent attacks involving chlorine gas that took place in March.

"There is no more meaningful way to collectively honor the victims of chemical warfare and make sure that humankind is forever liberated from the ominous threat of the use of chemical weapons," Ki-moon said. "On this Day of Remembrance, let us do more than recall the past — let us shape a new future by renewing our common pledge to rid the world of chemical weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction."

Ki-Moon urged the six nations that have yet to ratify the Chemical Weapons Convention -- Angola, Burma, Egypt, Israel, North Korea and South Sudan -- to do so immediately.