29 April 2009
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon:
"The Suffering of the Victims of Chemical Warfare Must be Preserved in our Collective Memory"
Message on the Remembrance Day for all Victims of Chemical Warfare, 29 April 2009
VIENNA, 29 April (UN Information Service) - The Day of Remembrance for all Victims of Chemical Warfare is an occasion to recall some of the greatest atrocities in human history, to assess our progress in preventing any recurrence, and to pledge to continue advancing this cause in the future.
The suffering of the victims of chemical warfare must be preserved in our collective memory. And we must pay tribute to their plight by taking all possible actions to honour the provisions of the Chemical Weapons Convention, which entered into force on this day in 1997.
The Convention has set new standards for global disarmament and non-proliferation through verification in a non-discriminatory and multilateral manner. It establishes far-reaching rights and obligations to ensure that chemical weapons are effectively eliminated.
There are significant advances to report this year.
Membership in the Convention will increase to 188 States Parties with the recent ratification of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas. Almost all of the States Parties have now established their National Authorities. Today, under the provision of the Chemical Weapons Convention, India becomes the third possessor State to have completed the destruction of its chemical weapons stockpiles.
This is welcome progress, but we cannot be complacent in the face of such a grave threat. Above all, we must bolster international efforts to prevent access to chemical weapons by terrorists or other non-State actors. Governments, international organizations and the private sector must all join forces to translate the Convention's provisions into action.
The United Nations will continue to work together with the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the international community to promote full implementation and universal adherence to the Convention. In my capacity as Depositary, I urge those States that have not yet ratified or acceded to the Convention to do so as soon as possible.
On this Remembrance Day, let us honour the victims of chemical warfare by reaffirming our commitment to build a world where, in the words of the Convention, achievements in the field of chemistry are used exclusively for the benefit of mankind.
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