On November 30th each year, the Day of Remembrance for All Victims of Chemical Warfare pays tribute to victims of chemical warfare. The day also reaffirms the commitment to eliminate the threat of chemical war.
During WWI, chemical weapons killed more than 100,000 people. Chemical weapons also resulted in a million casualties. Chemical weapons contain toxic chemicals that cause death, injury, and sensory irritation. These weapons are usually deployed through a rocket or ballistic missile. Chemical weapons can cause mass destruction. This is one reason it is against the law to use them during armed conflict. Despite this law, many nations have active chemical weapons programs.
The Geneva Protocol, signed in 1925, sought to ban the use of chemical weapons. The United States did not join until 1975. Syria, the Islamic State, and North Korea have all been recently accused of using chemical weapons in the midst of conflict. Thousands of people died or were injured as a result.
On April 29, 1997, during the Chemical Weapons Convention, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) was formed. The OPCW supports and verifies the destruction of chemical weapons. They also inspect facilities that formerly produced chemical weapons. In 2013, the OPCW received the Nobel Peace Prize. As of 2017, 68,000 metric tons of chemical weapons stockpiles have been destroyed. Additionally, 90 chemical weapons facilities have been destroyed or converted.
On November 11, 2005, the UN Officially recognized the Day of Remembrance for All Victims of Chemical Warfare. The day originally commemorated the date the Chemical Weapons Convention entered into force on April 29, 1997. However, in 2015, the International Day for the Foundation of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons Day was established on April 29th as well. The UN changed the observance for the Day of Remembrance to November 30th.