Day of Remembrance for all Victims of Chemical Warfare – November 30, 2022

Day of Remembrance for all Victims of Chemical Warfare is observed on November 30 internationally. This holiday was created by the United Nations and is held to remember the victims of chemical warfare and to affirm the Organization of the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons’ commitment to the cause. This holiday aims to encourage efforts for eliminating the use of chemical weapons.

History of Day of Remembrance for all Victims of Chemical Warfare

The Day of Remembrance for All Victims of Chemical Warfare was organized by the United Nations as a way of honoring all the lives lost as a result of chemical weapons. Chemical weapons were first invented in 1918 by a German chemist named Fritz Haber. He is best known for inventing the Haber-Bosch process that synthesizes ammonia from nitrogen gas and hydrogen gas, which aids in synthesizing fertilizers. This invention is used in global food production and supports nearly half of the world’s population. However, this isn’t Haber’s only life-changing invention.

During World War I, Haber signed the Manifesto of the Ninety-Three, in which he and other German scientists and scholars declared their support of the German military. Haber developed and weaponized poisonous gasses to be used in trench warfare, as well as gas masks and filters to protect against them. The Germans first used their chemical weapons in Belgium in 1915 at the Second Battle of Ypres, releasing 168 tons of chlorine gas. From then on, Haber and his team continued to experiment and further developed their chemicals to make them more effective. These efforts were later continued in America where they developed a gas that released irritants, making soldiers take off their masks and be exposed to the gas.

There is no doubt that these chemical weapons would be much stronger and more fatal had they continued being developed. In 1992, a treaty was drafted named the Chemical Weapons Convention and was enacted in 1997. Thankfully, most countries have agreed to destroy their chemical weapons.

Day of Remembrance for all Victims of Chemical Warfare timeline

1918
Chemical Weapons are Invented

Chemical weapons are first invented for use in World War I.

1992
A New Treaty is Drafted

The treaty to destroy and prohibit chemical weapons is drafted.

1997
A Treaty is Enacted

The treaty to destroy and prohibit chemical weapons is enacted.

2005
The Holiday Proclamation

The U.N. proclaims the Day of Remembrance for all Victims of Chemical Warfare.

2013
Destruction of Chemical Weapons

Most of the world destroys its chemical weapons.

Day of Remembrance for all Victims of Chemical Warfare FAQs

What is an example of chemical warfare?

The most commonly used chemical weapons are chlorine gas, nerve agents, ricin, lewisite, and mustard gas.

What does chemical warfare do to the body?

They paralyze the respiratory muscles and inhibit the respiratory system, often killing the victim. Some may cause an increased risk of developing cancer.

How can you protect yourself against chemical weapons

By wearing a gas mask and protective clothing, closing doors and windows, and turning off ventilation, furnaces, and air conditioners.

How to Observe Day of Remembrance for all Victims of Chemical Warfare

  1. Pay tribute

    Take the day to grieve and pay tribute to victims of chemical warfare. Keep their memory alive by continuing to talk about them and share their stories.

  2. Spread awareness

    Talk to those around you about the effects of chemical warfare and share posts on social media to keep everyone informed. Remind them of what work is to be done.

  3. Donate

    Donate to savethechildren.org to help victims in Syria against chemical attacks. You can also donate to icanw.org/donate to aid in passing a treaty to stop nuclear weapons.

5 Facts You Should Know About Chemical Weapons

  1. They killed many people

    Nearly 100,000 people died from chemical weapons in World War I — since then, there have been nearly one million deaths.

  2. Some countries still have chemical weapons

    Egypt, Israel, North Korea, and South Sudan did not sign the treaty and may possess chemical weapons — the U.N. aims to encourage these countries to follow suit.

  3. They are still being used

    Despite having destroyed their chemical weapons, some countries are illegally using chemical warfare and there is still much work to be done to ensure this doesn’t continue happening.

  4. It’s damaging to the environment

    Chemical warfare is extremely damaging to all organic life — it can contaminate the soil and remain toxic for years.

  5. They aid in nothing but destruction

    Despite Germany having developed many types of chemical weapons, Hitler refused to use them knowing the enemy would respond by using them as well.

Why Day of Remembrance for all Victims of Chemical Warfare is Important

  1. It honors the lives lost

    This day allows those who have lost people to chemical warfare to mourn and honor their lives, whether soldiers or citizens. It serves as a reminder of how cruel war can be.

  2. It shows progress

    This day reminds us of how much progress was made in saving the lives of future generations. It also reminds us how much work there is left to do.

  3. It protects people

    It’s important to remember that chemical weapons are against international law and are inhumane. This is one step taken to establish peace, and the U.N. is continuing to make similar efforts to protect people.

Day of Remembrance for all Victims of Chemical Warfare dates

YearDateDay
2022November 30Wednesday
2023November 30Thursday
2024November 30Saturday
2025November 30Sunday
2026November 30Monday

Holidays Straight to Your Inbox

Every day is a holiday!
Receive fresh holidays directly to your inbox.