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Syria: latest updates on the use of chemical weapons

The international chemical weapons symbol on the flag of Syria The international chemical weapons symbol on the flag of Syria Bunyos, iStock

03 June 2021

UN representative briefs colleagues on the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

On 03 June 2021 the United Nations High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Izumi Nakamitsu, informed delegates about the progress made by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) concerning its investigations in Syria. She stressed that Syria’s current chemical weapons declaration cannot be considered acceptable in regards to the standards of the Chemical Weapons Convention, particularly because of the inconsistencies and gaps it still contains; in 2013, the United Nations Security Council decided to mandate the removal of chemical weapons in Syria through the adoption of resolution 2118. Currently, the OPCW is enforcing the provisions of the Convention by encouraging the elimination of chemical weapons and the suspension of their development, as well as by directing the use of related  technologies solely for peaceful and legitimate purposes.

Since the last Council meeting on 6 May, Nakamitsu has maintained contact with her counterparts at the OPCW concerning the issue of chemical weapons in the Arab Republic. The High Representative stated that the Technical Secretary, despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, continued enforcing the provisions of the Chemical Weapons Convention. The OPCW, together with the Syrian Government and other involved parties such as Russia, is carrying out a series of verifications and investigations concerning the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria by various state and non-state actors. The use of chemical weapons by the country is one of the main problems that the parties to the Convention have had to face since 1997, the year the treaty entered into force.

Richard Mills, Deputy Ambassador of the United States to the UN, pointed out that the Assad regime, supported by Russia, has repeatedly ignored the international community’s demands to provide full disclosure regarding its chemical weapons program. Ms. Nakamitsu stressed the urgent need to identify those who have violated international law by using  these weapons, and called upon the members of the UN Security Council to cooperate immediately towards the restoration of global standards against the use of chemical weapons.

 

To read more, please visit:

Accountability crucial to ‘truly relegate’ Syria chemical weapons to history | | UN News

Mission | OPCW

Suspend Syria’s Rights Under Chemical Weapons Convention | Human Rights Watch (hrw.org)

17 instances of chemical weapons used in Syria: Watchdog | United Nations News | Al Jazeera

 

Author: Sara Taherzadeh – Editor: Maxime Grenier

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