Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Memorial established to commemorate victims of chemical weapons

Dutch Queen Beatrix on Wednesday unveiled a permanent memorial for the world's victims of chemical weapons in The Hague, the Netherlands.
The memorial, which consists of a maple tree, a solar panel and a website, is in the premises of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in the Dutch city.
The solar panel will provide power for a webcam, which can capture images of the maple tree for use on the website.
"As it moves upwards and expands sidewards, the OPCW maple tree will stand for our dedication to the continued ascent of mankind," said OPCW Director General Rogelio Pfirter in a speech prior to the ceremony.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon congratulated the unveiling of the memorial.
In a recorded video message, Ban asked for more efforts to bring all countries into the Chemical Weapons Convention, under which the OPCW was created.
"I call on those states that have not yet ratified or acceded to the convention to do so without delay. And I call on all ( chemical weapons) possessor states to complete the destruction of their declared stockpiles according to the deadlines."
Only 13 countries in the world have not ratified or signed the convention, which came into force a decade ago.
The OPCW is celebrating the 10th anniversary of the convention.