Memorial held for world's chemical warfare victims

OPCW officials remember victims of chemical warfare in moment of silince | Courtesy of the OPCW
Dignitaries and staff of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) held the organization's annual Day of Remembrance Wednesday for victims of chemical warfare and attacks.

“On this Remembrance Day, following the issue of the historic Ypres Declaration by States Parties, we renew our resolve to achieve a world truly free of chemical weapons," OPCW Director-General Ahmet Üzümcü said. "We must re-dedicate ourselves to this mission, with the same political will that fueled the creation of the global ban against these weapons.”

Wreaths were laid at the memorial by dignitaries including Hague Mayor Jozias van Aartsen; Ambassador for International Organizations for the Dutch Ministry Nora Stehouwer-van Iersel; and chairperson of the Conference of States Parties and Ambassador Vassela Korac of Croatia.

The first reported use of chemical weapons occurred in Ypres, Belgium, in April 1915, and these kinds of weapons found wide use by multiple countries in World War I. Their use, proliferation, development and stockpiling is officially banned and condemned in the Chemical Weapons Convention that entered into effect in 1997.

Currently, only six nations have not ratified the treaty. OPCW is conducting a fact-finding mission in Syria to investigate recent attacks on the Idlib region.

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Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons 32 Johan de Wittlaan Den Haag, ZH 2517 JR

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