29 August 2013
Press Release
DC/3448
OBV/1250

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

United Nations Commemorates Fourth International Day against Nuclear Tests

 


The worldwide observance of the fourth annual International Day against Nuclear Tests will be commemorated on Thursday, 29 August.  The Day highlights the efforts of the United Nations and a growing community of advocates, including Member States, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, academic institutions, youth networks and media in informing and educating on the importance of a ban on nuclear weapons testing for the achievement of a safer and more secure world.


Activities ranging from symposiums and conferences to exhibits are expected to take place throughout the world to call attention to the dangers of nuclear weapon-test explosions, the threats posed to humans and the environment, and the need to ultimately eliminate all nuclear weapons and their testing.


The Day, 29 August, was chosen by the General Assembly as the annual commemoration date because it marks the day in 1991 when Semipalatinsk in Kazakhstan, one of the largest test sites in the world, was closed permanently.  This year, at United Nations Headquarters, the Day will be observed on 5 September with an informal meeting in the Trusteeship Council Chamber, convened by General Assembly President Vuk Jeremić, which includes a high-level panel organized in cooperation with the Permanent Mission of Kazakhstan to the United Nations.


The General Assembly President, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and the Minister for Emergency Situations of Kazakhstan, Vladimir Bozhko, are expected to deliver opening statements at the meeting, which aims to draw the world’s attention to nuclear weapons abolition and to the goal of a nuclear-weapon-free world.


The opening ceremony will be followed by a high-level panel, entitled “Path to Zero: The Role of the United Nations in Nuclear Disarmament and Non-proliferation”.  Speakers include the United Nations High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Angela Kane; the Permanent Representative of Austria to the United Nations, Martin Sajdik; the Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, Lassina Zerbo; the Representative of the Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency to the United Nations, Geoffrey Shaw; and the former President of Physicians for Social Responsibility and Co-Vice President for North America, International Physicians for Prevention of Nuclear War, Andrew S. Kanter.


The panellists are expected to cover such key issues as necessary steps for further progress on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, the establishment of additional nuclear-weapon-free zones, and confidence-building.  The Permanent Representative of Costa Rica, Eduardo Ulibarri, will moderate.


Also marking the observance will be an exhibition, entitled “Peace Now: Abolish Nuclear Tests and Weapons”.  Organized by the Permanent Mission of Kazakhstan, in cooperation with the United Nations Department of Public Information, it will run from 4 to 8 September in the main corridor on the first floor of the United Nations Conference Building.  On display will be paintings of the world-renowned Kazakh artist, Karipbek Kuyukov, who paints only with his feet, as he is a victim of nuclear radiation.  Mr. Kuyukov’s art depicts the triumph of the human spirit over the horrors of nuclear testing.  He is the designated Ambassador of the ATOM (Abolish Testing Our Mission) Project of Kazakhstan and has received international acclaim for his committed and tireless advocacy to achieve total nuclear abolition.  The exhibit will be inaugurated on 4 September, at 6 p.m.


At the initiative of the President of Kazakhstan, the General Assembly established the International Day against Nuclear Tests under resolution 64/35.  First observed in 2010, the Day is intended to promote the idea that “every effort should be made to end nuclear tests in order to avert devastating and harmful effects on the lives of people […] and that the end of nuclear tests is one of the key means of achieving the goal of a nuclear-weapon-free world”.


The complete programme can be found at www.un.org/en/events/againstnucleartestsday/2013/events.shtml.


For further information on the Day and on the nuclear test-related issues, please access the website, available in the six official languages of the United Nations: www.un.org/en/no-nucleartests.


Contacts: United Nations Department of Public Information, Hisae Kawamori, kawamori@un.org; or United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs, Ewen Buchanan, buchanane@un.org.


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For information media • not an official record