First mustard gas attack 100 years ago: Didier Reynders calls for an end to the use of chemical weapons

Exactly 100 years ago today, on July 12th, 1917, the first large-scale mustard gas attack in human history took place on Belgian territory in Ieper. This chemical weapon caused numerous deaths and scarred other victims for life. Today, chemical ammunition is still being found on the battlefields of the First World War. Belgium continues to destroy significant amounts of these weapons and has recently invested in the acquisition of new equipment to continue its dismantlement activities.

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Didier Reynders deplores that chemical weapons are still being used today, especially in Syria. Belgium calls on all the parties to the Convention on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to honor the Ieper Declaration of April 21st, 2015. The use of chemical weapons is unacceptable and violates the legal norms and standards of the international community. Anyone who uses these weapons should be held accountable.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) exists for 20 years. Belgium thanks the OPCW and supports its efforts to rid the world of chemical weapons. Didier Reynders reiterates his appeal to the four remaining countries (North Korea, Egypt, South Sudan and Israel) to join the Convention on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons without delay. Nothing serves the memory of the victims better than a universal ban on chemical weapons.