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

25 years ago, the Chemical Weapons Convention entered into force with one purpose: to put an end and eliminate chemical weapons once and for all. Today it is the global norm against chemical weapons. 

Since 1997, over 99% of chemical weapon stockpiles declared have been verifiably destroyed. Yet chemical weapons remain one of the most serious threats to international peace and security. 

Despite the progress made, we are still witness to the horrific consequences of these heinous weapons. In Syria, they have caused hundreds of victims, including children. In August 2020, a military grade nerve agent “Novichok” was used in the assassination attempt on the Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny in the territory of the Russian Federation. Chemical weapons have also been used in Malaysia in 2017 to assassinate Kim Jeung-On’s half-brother Kim Jeung-Nam, and in the United Kingdom in 2018 in the attempted assassination of Sergei and Yulia Skripal, which resulted in the death of a British citizen.

No one should use chemical weapons, anywhere, at any time and under any circumstances.

In view of the continued threat posed by the proliferation and use of chemical weapons, the EU has applied restrictive measures against 25 individuals and 3 entities.

We will continue supporting the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in implementing the Chemical Weapons Convention, independently and impartially. 

On this day of Remembrance for all Victims of Chemical Warfare, we remember those who have died and suffered because of the use of chemical weapons. We recall that the use of chemical weapons is a violation of international law and can amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Those responsible must and will be held accountable. We will continue to fight against impunity and working towards full accountability for those responsible at national and international levels.


Under its regime of restrictive measures dedicated to fighting the proliferation and use of chemical weapons and their precursors, the European Union has imposed restrictive measures on persons and entities in Russia linked to the Salisbury attack in 2018 and the poisoning of Mr Navalny in 2020. In Syria, the EU has imposed restrictive measures on entities and persons responsible for development and use of chemical weapons, in particular for the attacks that took place in August 2013 in Ghouta, March 2017 in Ltamenah and 2018 in Douma. Moreover, the European Union continues its active participation in the Partnership Against Impunity for the Use of Chemical Weapons.

Declaration by the High Representative Josep Borrell on the 25th anniversary of the Chemical Weapons Convention.

Nabila Massrali
Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
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Xavier Cifre Quatresols
Press Officer for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
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