World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


End Impunity For Use Of Chemical Weapons In Syria, UN Disarmament Chief Urges Security Council

OCHA/Halldorsson Destroyed buildings in Aleppo, Syria, where chemical weapons were allegedly used. (file photo)

The United Nations top disarmament official, on Wednesday, stressed the urgent need to not only identify those who have used chemical weapons in Syria, but also hold them accountable for their deeds.

“Without such an action, we are allowing the use of chemical weapons to take place with impunity”, Izumi Nakamitsu, UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, told the Security Council in a virtual briefing.

“It is imperative that this Council shows leadership in demonstrating that impunity in the use of these weapons will not be tolerated”, she added.

It is imperative that the Security Council shows leadership in demonstrating that impunity in the use of these weapons will not be tolerated
— Izumi Nakamitsu

Ms. Nakamitsu was briefing the Council members on the implementation of resolution 2118 where unanimous agreement was reached in 2013 to condemn “in the strongest terms” any use of chemical weapons in Syria.

Through the resolution, the Security Council also expressed its “strong conviction” that those individuals responsible for the use of chemical weapons there should be held accountable.

COVID-19 impacts deployment

Ms. Nakamitsu informed the Security Council that while the coronavirus pandemic continues to impact the ability of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to deploy to Syria, the body’s Technical Secretariat continued with its activities related to the elimination of the Syrian chemical weapons programme.

She also said that the OPCW Fact Finding Mission (FFM) continues to study all available information related to allegations of the use of chemical weapons in Syria, as well as its engagement with the Government and other States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention.

“As previously reported, further FFM deployments will be subject to the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic,” she added.

Outstanding issues remain

Ms. Nakamitsu recalled the information provided by the OPCW Director-General to the Security Council last December, which noted that three outstanding issues related to Syria’s initial declaration were closed, while 19 remain outstanding.

One of the issues pertained to a chemical weapons production facility, which Syria declared as never being used for such production, she said. “However, the review of all the information and other materials gathered by the OPCW DAT since 2014, indicates that production and/or weaponization of chemical warfare nerve agents did take place at this facility.”

The OPCW secretariat has requested Syria to provide information on the “exact types and qualities” of agents produced and/or weaponized, but the country is yet to respond, Ms. Nakamitsu added.

The UN High Representative urged Syria to cooperate fully with the OPCW secretariat, noting that “the confidence of the international community in the full elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons programme depends upon the OPCW being able to close these outstanding issues.”

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Myanmar: UN Condemns Escalating Violence In Deadliest Day Of Protests So Far

In response to the killing of at least 18 protesters demonstrating against Myanmar’s military coup, the UN human rights office (OHCHR) on Sunday together with the UN chief, strongly condemned the “escalating violence” and called for an immediate end to the use of force... More>>

Syria: Economic Decline, Rising Hunger And Surging Humanitarian Needs

Syria’s fragile economy has “suffered multiple shocks” over the past 18 months, with its currency plummeting and joblessness swelling as people struggle to cover their basic needs, the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator told the Security Council ... More>>

OECD: Final Quarter Of 2020 Shows Continued Recovery In G20 International Merchandise Trade

G20 international merchandise trade continued to rebound in the fourth quarter of 2020 ( exports up 7.2% and imports up 6.8%), following the sharp falls seen in the first half of 2020, as lockdown measures affected trade globally. Although growth ... More>>

Focus On: UN SDGs

UNFCCC: Greater Climate Ambition Urged As Initial NDC Synthesis Report Is Published

UN Climate Change today published the Initial NDC Synthesis Report, showing nations must redouble efforts and submit stronger, more ambitious national climate action plans in 2021 if they’re to achieve the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global temperature rise by 2°C—ideally 1.5°C—by the end of the century... More>>

2021: Critical Year To ‘reset Our Relationship With Nature’ – UN Chief

During this time of “crisis and fragility”, the UN chief told the United Nations Environment Assembly on Monday that human well-being and prosperity can be vastly improved by prioritizing nature-based solutions. Painting a picture of the turmoil ... More>>

Paris Agreement: UN Secretary-General António Guterres To Mark U.S. Reentry With Envoy For Climate John Kerry

Watch live at UN Secretary-General António Guterres will join U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John F. Kerry at an event marking the United States’ reentry into the Paris Agreement this Friday. The discussion with the Secretary-General ... More>>