2 September 2011
Deputy Secretary-General
DSG/SM/570
DC/3301
OBV/1022

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Maintain Current Anti-Testing Momentum, Urges Deputy Secretary-General,

 

Addressing General Assembly Event Marking Day against Nuclear Tests

 


Following are UN Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro’s remarks at the General Assembly event marking the International Day against Nuclear Tests, held in New York on 2 September:


I am grateful for the opportunity to address this special meeting of the General Assembly to commemorate the International Day against Nuclear Tests, the second such event to take place at the United Nations.  I speak to you today on behalf of the Secretary-General, who has long viewed a comprehensive ban on such tests as one of his top priorities.


The fate of global efforts to achieve this goal will affect all of our lives and the future of the planet we share.  This year’s observance of the International Day against Nuclear Tests, which took place three days ago, marked the twentieth anniversary of the decree issued by President Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan, closing the nuclear weapons test complex at Semipalatinsk.  This was the site where nearly 500 nuclear weapon tests were carried out.  These tests, like many others, exposed civilians to the harmful effects of nuclear radiation and caused widespread environmental degradation and economic loss.


I wish to convey my full support to the Government and people of Kazakhstan as they continue to overcome the effects of those tests.


I draw some encouragement from the many activities taking place worldwide to commemorate this International Day.  Indeed, the Day is an opportunity to highlight the urgency of achieving new progress in achieving a world free of both nuclear tests and nuclear weapons.


The potential for such progress is genuine.  But we need to do more to take advantage of the current momentum.  The voluntary moratoriums of the nuclear-weapon States are welcome, but these offer no substitute for a legal prohibition.  I therefore urge all States that have not yet signed or ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty to do so.  It is time for this Treaty to enter into force.  Achievement of this goal would further reinforce the growing opposition to nuclear weapons throughout the world.


In a speech at last May’s Conference on Promoting the Global Instruments of Non-proliferation and Disarmament, the Secretary-General noted that “all Member States share a common interest in building a world in which the use of nuclear weapons is not simply improbable, but impossible”.  Secretary-General Ban has pledged his full commitment to liberating humanity from the terror of weapons of mass destruction.


As we observe the International Day against Nuclear Tests, I am pleased to join with Member States and voices throughout civil society in reaffirming this great common cause.  Important work lies ahead; let us rise to the challenge.


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For information media • not an official record