This is a guest blog by the Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, His Excellency Mr Ahmet Üzümcü, on the occasion of the Day of Remembrance for all Victims of Chemical Warfare, 29 April.
Today, April 29, marks The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Remembrance Day.
This day allows us all a moment of reflection. We must not forget the pain and suffering inflicted by chemical weapons. I feel that there is no better occasion than this to recall and reaffirm our collective commitment to a world free of chemical weapons.
Today 188 states are parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention, and nearly 80% of all declared stockpiles of chemical weapons have been successfully destroyed by States Parties. Progress continues to be made on the destruction of remaining stockpiles and on promoting the universality of the Convention through engagement with the 8 states which remain outside of its ambit.
Recent events in Syria have underlined how critical the goal of eliminating all chemical weapons remains. I have voiced my concern at the current allegations concerning the possible use of chemical weapons in Syria. The OPCW is assisting the United Nations Secretary General in his fact finding Mission to investigate these allegations.
I want to reiterate that the use of chemical weapons by anyone under any circumstances would be reprehensible and is completely contrary to the legal norms and standards of the international community.
Remembrance Day reminds us of our obligation to do everything in our power to eliminate chemical weapons and to ensure that they never re-emerge. This is the best tribute that we can pay in memory of the fallen.