Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message for the International Day against Nuclear Tests, observed on 29 August:
This year marks the seventieth anniversary of the dawn of the nuclear age. Seven decades ago, the Trinity Test unleashed the power of more than 20,000 tons of TNT and precipitated over 2,000 additional nuclear tests.
Pristine environments and populated communities in Central Asia, North Africa, North America and the South Pacific were hit. Many have never recovered from the resulting environmental, health and economic damage.
Poisoned groundwater, cancer, leukaemia, radioactive fallout — these are among the poisonous legacies of nuclear testing.
The best way to honour the victims of past tests is to prevent any in the future.
The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) is essential for the elimination of nuclear weapons. It is a legally binding, verifiable means by which to constrain the quantitative and qualitative development of nuclear weapons.
Nearly two decades after the CTBT was negotiated, the time has long passed for its entry into force.
I welcome the voluntary moratoria on testing imposed by nuclear-armed States. At the same time, I stress that these cannot substitute for a legally binding Treaty.
On this International Day, I repeat my longstanding call on all remaining States to sign and ratify the Treaty — especially the eight necessary for its entry into force — as a critical step on the road to a nuclear-weapon-free world.