International Day Against Nuclear Tests 2019
The International Day against Nuclear Tests (IDANT) 2019 was marked around the world on 29 August with ceremonies to remember the devastating consequences of nuclear tests, and urgent calls to bring the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) into force as a key pillar of the international non-proliferation and disarmament framework.
The date of IDANT is highly symbolic, commemorating both the anniversary of Kazakhstan’s closure of the former Soviet Semipalatinsk nuclear test site in 1991, and the date the first Soviet nuclear test was conducted there in 1949. In the Kazakh capital, Nur-Sultan, Republic of Kazakhstan Foreign Minister Beibut Atamkulov and CTBTO Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo issued a joint statement (PDF) calling for a world free from nuclear testing and urging those States that have not yet signed or ratified the CTBT to do so without delay.
“We especially call on the remaining eight CTBT Annex 2 States, whose ratifications are required for the Treaty's entry into force, to demonstrate leadership by taking this important step,” the statement said.
Although 184 countries have signed the CTBT and 168 have also ratified it, 44 specific nuclear technology holder countries must sign and ratify before it can enter into force. Of these, eight are still missing: China, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan and the USA.
It is high time to bring the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty into force. Let us take the last steps of this long journey and finish one of the longest sought international instruments in the area of non-proliferation and disarmament. We owe it to ourselves, and to future generations.
During the IDANT ceremony in Nur-Sultan, Zerbo and the late Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Yukiya Amano, were named laureates of the Nazarbayev Prize for a Nuclear-Weapons-Free World and Global Security, acknowledging their contribution to global nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament.
Zerbo received the award from Kazakhstan’s First President, Nursultan Nazarbayev.
In Vienna, a ceremony marking IDANT was held at the CTBTO’s headquarters with the support of the Kazakh Permanent Mission in Vienna and the United Nations Information Service (UNIS).
As well as a reading of the joint statement from Atamkulov and Zerbo, the ceremony included an IDANT message from UN Secretary-General António Guterres in which he reiterated his call for all States that have not yet done so to sign and ratify the CTBT – especially those whose ratification is needed for the Treaty’s entry into force.
The legacy of nuclear testing is nothing but destruction. The CTBT is vital to ensuring there are no more victims; it is also essential to advancing nuclear disarmament… In a world of rising tensions and divisions, our collective security depends on it.
The accompanying exhibition in Vienna included winning artworks from a children’s art campaign launched last year by CTBTO and the Spanish NGO Paz y Cooperación.
Also marking IDANT, a group of high-level figures from France and Madagascar published a joint appeal in the French newspaper Libération calling on the eight remaining CTBT Annex 2 States to ratify the Treaty.
The appeal was issued in the context of an international campaign launched earlier this year by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Francophonie (APF). Signatories included Bruno Tertrais, a member of the CTBTO Group of Eminent Persons, APF Secretary General Jacques Krabal, Madagascar’s Defence Minister Richard Rakotonirina and the President of the Madagascar National Assembly, Christine Razanamahasoa.
IDANT will also be marked by a high-level UN plenary meeting at United Nations Headquarters in New York on 9 September. Read the full text of the joint statement by Minister Atamkulov and Executive Secretary Zerbo here. Read Secretary-General Guterres’ full message here. Read the full text of the appeal in Libération here.