The Conference of the States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention, at its 20th Session, decided that a memorial Day of Remembrance for all Victims of Chemical Warfare would be observed on 30 November each year or, when appropriate, on the first day of the regular Session of the Conference.
This commemoration provides an opportunity to pay tribute to the victims of chemical warfare. It aims to reaffirm the commitment of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to eliminate the threat of chemical weapons, promoting peace, security, and multilateralism.
The Third Review Conference of States Parties to the Chemical Convention was held on 8-19 April 2013 in the Hague, the Netherlands. It adopted by consensus a political declaration that confirms the “unequivocal commitment” of the States Parties to the global chemical weapons ban and a comprehensive review of CWC implementation since the last Review Conference in 2008, which also maps out the OPCW’s priorities for the coming five years.
The history of the serious efforts to achieve chemical disarmament that culminated in the conclusion of the Chemical Weapons Convention began more than a century ago. Chemical weapons were used on a massive scale during World War I, resulting in more than 100,000 fatalities and a million casualties.
However, chemical weapons were not used on the battleground in Europe in World War II. Following World War II, and with the advent of the nuclear debate, several countries gradually realised that the marginal value of having chemical weapons in their arsenals was limited. In contrast, the threat posed by the availability and proliferation of such weapons made a comprehensive ban desirable.
Adopted in 1993, the Chemical Weapons Convention entered into force on 29 April 1997. It determined, “for the sake of all humankind, to exclude the possibility of using chemical weapons completely. The preamble begins by saying that the States Parties to this Convention established the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. Furthermore, it aims to achieve the object and purpose of this Convention, to ensure the implementation of its provisions, including those for international verification of compliance with it, and to provide a forum for consultation and cooperation among States Parties.
The day reiterates that world peace is the human cause of the world. All nations and countries should come forward to limit the extent and production of chemical weapons to avoid war catastrophes in the world.