European Union External Action

Statement by High Representative/ Vice-President Josep Borrell on the Day of Remembrance for all Victims of Chemical Warfare

Brussels, 30/11/2020 - 15:13, UNIQUE ID: 201130_6
Statements by the HR/VP

On this “Day of Remembrance for all Victims of Chemical Warfare”, the European Union commemorates those that have died and suffered as a result of the use of chemical weapons. Since the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) entered into force in 1997, 193 countries have joined the Convention and 98% of chemical weapon stockpiles declared by possessor States have been verifiably destroyed.

Yet the re-emergence of chemical weapons is one of the most urgent threats to international peace and security. The use of these heinous weapons has caused hundreds of victims, including children, in Syria. In August this year, a nerve agent was used in the assassination attempt against the opposition leader Alexei Navalny in the territory of the Russian Federation. Chemical weapons have also been used in the United Kingdom, Malaysia and Iraq.

The European Union condemns in the strongest terms the use of chemical weapons by anyone, be it a State, or a non-State actor, anywhere, at any time and under any circumstances as a violation of international law. Those responsible for the use of chemical weapons must and will be held accountable.

In this regard, the European Union welcomes the first report of the OPCW Investigation and Identification Team (IIT) and continues to demonstrate its commitment to fight impunity by imposing restrictive measures against 15 persons and two entities for the use of chemical weapons in Syria, the UK and Russia.

The European Union reiterates its steadfast support to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) with a view to achieving the vision of a world free of chemical weapons, and reaffirms its commitment to the fight against impunity for the use of chemical weapons.