UN Secretary General calls for elimination of chemical weapons

Inspectors from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) inventory a stockpile of 22mm chemical artillery projectiles | Courtesy of OPCW
United Nations (UN) Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called for the final elimination of global chemical weapon stockpiles as the centennial of their first use in Belgium passed on Tuesday.

In remembering this anniversary the secretary general stated that a fitting tribute to victims of attacks and chemical warfare would be the full-scale, global elimination of chemical armaments. He also states that recent chemical attacks in Syria posed a stark reminder of the capabilities of destructive power they hold.

“The horrors of the First World War must be recalled as we grapple with today’s security challenges,” Ki-moon said. “On this solemn anniversary, we remember the atrocities with the resolve to make sure that unlike that gas, the threats do not linger.”

The first ban on chemical arms came from the Geneva Convention in 1925, and prohibition of their development, production and use of these weapons would later come from the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC).

International response to the apparent use of chlorine gas in recent weeks and the sarin attacks of 2013 was worthy of praise, Ki-moon said. But he reminded the international community that there would be more to be done until all chemical weapons are out of the hands that would use them.

“We owe it to the victims of chemical weapons over the past 100 years – and future generations at risk of attacks – to remember that the world is not free from this threat,” Ki-moon said.