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29 August Building a #NuclearWeapons free world

world-disarmament-1Building a #NuclearWeapons free world. EU Reporter, text-relevant | August 26, 2016 The international community, including the EU, is being urged to step up its contribution to create a nuclear-free world, writes Colin Stevens.

The issue was thrust back into the spotlight most recently when North Korea testfired a submarine-based ballistic missile from its east coast on 25 August.

The exercise drew international condemnation and Daniel A. Pinkston, a professor at Troy University, said the fact that the rocket travelled as far as it did suggests the North Koreans are “making quite rapid progress, and probably more rapid progress than anyone had predicted”.

The call to remove such threats by seriously scaling down nuclear programmes comes as Kazakhstan marks the 25th anniversary of the closure of the Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site on 29 August.

On Monday in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, an international conference entitled ‘Building a Nuclear Weapons Free World’ will take place.

It will be attended by political and religious leaders, experts in the field of disarmament, as well as representatives of civil society, international and regional organisations. Those present will include nations that possess nuclear weapons, as well as non-nuclear-weapon states.

The date, 29 August, is the anniversary of Kazakhstan President Nazarbayev’s decision to shut down Semipalatinsk and the date which has since been designated the UN International Day against Nuclear Weapons.

Kazakhstan suffered 450 Soviet nuclear weapons tests at the Semipalatinsk site between August 29, 1949 and 1991 when Nazarbayev finally gave the order to shut down the site.

The 42 years of testing, however, inflicted great suffering on both the Kazakh people and its environment. Tests negatively affected the health of more than 1.5 million Kazakh citizens including many who, to this day, in the first and the second generations, suffer early death, lifelong debilitating illness and horrific birth defects……..

Also on Monday, a special ceremony will take place in Ypres, Belgium to mark the landmark.

The Flemish city is known for the death and destruction it witnessed in World War I. The ceremony will take place in the town’s Cloth Hall close to a memorial which is dedicated to the many tens of thousands who fell in the Great War.

Almas Khamzayev, the ambassador of Kazakhstan’s embassy in Belgium, will join Jan Durnez, the Mayor of Ypres and vice president of Mayors for Peace, an organization that seeks to raise global awareness of the need to abolish nuclear weapons. The leaders will observe a minute’s silence in honour of victims of weapons of mass destruction and open a photographic exhibition to showcase Kazakhstan’s efforts in non-proliferation.

In 2012 the country launched The ATOM Project, a global initiative to help bring into force the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and show world leaders that the public worldwide is united in its desire to eliminate the nuclear weapons threat.

It specifically seeks to help bring into force the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and is an example of how Kazakhstan has led the way for the rest of the world on this issue.

The project puts a human face on this global issue by telling the stories of the survivors of nuclear testing. To this day, children are born with severe deformities, illnesses and a lifetime of health challenges as a result of exposure generations ago to nuclear weapons tests.

More than 260,000 people from over 100 countries have, so far, signed the petition. It is hoped to reach 300,000 signatures by the end of this month.

Ridding the world of nuclear weapons is also an effort supported by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon who has noted that the world has “witnessed a substantial growth of interest in better understanding the catastrophic humanitarian effects of nuclear weapons”.

He said: “Achieving global nuclear disarmament is one of the oldest goals of the United Nations.  It was the subject of the General Assembly’s first resolution in 1946. It has been on the General Assembly’s agenda along with general and complete disarmament ever since 1959.

“It has been a prominent theme of review conferences held at the UN since 1975 of States parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. It was identified a priority goal of the General Assembly’s first Special Session on disarmament in 1978, which attached a special priority to nuclear disarmament.  And it has been supported by every United Nations Secretary-General.”……….

Kazakhstan’s recent history shows that nations do not necessarily need a nuclear arsenal to feel safe. Its policy of eliminating nuclear weapons and strengthening the regime of non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction has earned the recognition of the international community.

Despite this, the uncertainty about the intentions of states such as North Korea and terrorist groups such as Islamic State suggests there should be no let-up in efforts to rid the world of the nuclear threat once and for all.

August 27, 2016 - Posted by | general

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