Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Chemical Weapons in Syria-Andree Curran

On September 3, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon spoke to the press at UN Headquarters about the collection of chemical weapons samples in Syria by the UN chemical weapons inspection team. Biomedical and environmental samples are expected to arrive in laboratories for analysis tomorrow.

The issue of chemical weapons is far larger than the conflict in Syria. If Syria does possess chemical weapons, the fate of mankind will be put in jeopardy. Hundreds of thousands of innocent people could be killed. However, at the same time, the UN must be careful to consider efforts to prevent further Syrian bloodshed and facilitate a political resolution of the conflict.

Mr. Ban is taking the issue at hand very seriously; the situation must be approached carefully. He is appealing for efforts to convene the Geneva conference, plans to discuss developments in Syria with world leaders attending the G20 summit, and has been in close contact with five permanent members of the 15-member Security Council.

Also under investigation is the use of chemical weapons in the attacks in the East Ghouta area of Damascus on August 21. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), the estimated death toll was 502. If the death toll is confirmed, the attack would be the deadliest chemical attack since 1988. It is up to the UN to confirm the use of chemical weapons and to bring perpetrators to justice.

Chemical weapons will trigger panic and confusion in Syria and surrounding neighborhoods. The people have a right to live peacefully and unafraid, not in fear of losing their lives or jeopardizing their health because of hazardous chemicals.

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