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Nuclear Tests: on International Day 2021, UN calls for total ban

NEW YORK, AUGUST 28 – Ahead of the International Day against Nuclear Tests (29 August), the UN emphasized the need to end nuclear tests to avert their harmful effects on the lives of people and to achieve a nuclear-weapon-free world. Marking the Day, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres urged all countries that have not signed the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty to do so soon. “Let’s engage together to achieve this goal”, said the Permanent Representive of Italy to the United Nations, Ambassador Maurizio Massari, on Twitter.

Since nuclear weapons testing began on 16 July 1945, over 2,000 have taken place. In the early days of nuclear testing little consideration was given to its devastating effects on human life, let alone the dangers of nuclear fallout from atmospheric tests. Hindsight and history have shown the terrifying and tragic effects of nuclear weapons testing, especially when controlled conditions go awry, and in light of the far more powerful and destructive nuclear weapons that exist today.

The main mechanism for eradicating nuclear weapons testing is the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT). To date, 185 countries have signed the agreement and 170 have ratified it. For the Treaty to enter into force, it must be ratified by States with significant nuclear capabilities. Bringing an irreversible end to nuclear explosions will prevent further development of nuclear weapons.

As late as last week the Italian Permanent Representative to the International Organizations in Vienna, Ambassador Alessandro Cortese, recalled that the entry into force of the CTBT is a crucial goal for nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament. Cortese spoke at the 57th Preparatory Commission for the CTBT Organization.

Italy and South Africa are co-chairing the upcoming 12th Art. XIV Conference. “All States should work for early consensus on the draft ministerial declaration”, said Cortese. The last conference was held in September 2019 at the UN Headquarters in New York.

On 2 December 2009, the 64th session of the United Nations General Assembly declared 29 August the International Day against Nuclear Tests by unanimously adopting resolution 64/35. The resolution was initiated by the Republic of Kazakhstan, together with a large number of sponsors and cosponsors with a view to commemorating the closure of the Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test site on 29 August 1991.

2010 marked the inaugural commemoration of the International Day against Nuclear Tests. In each subsequent year, the day has been observed by coordinating various activities throughout the world, such as symposia, conferences, exhibits, competitions, publications, lectures, media broadcasts and other initiatives.

“Convinced that nuclear disarmament and the total elimination of nuclear weapons are the only absolute guarantee against the use or threat of nuclear weapons,” the General Assembly then designated 26 September as the “International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons”, which is devoted to furthering the objective of the total elimination of nuclear weapons, through the mobilization of international efforts. The International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons was observed for the first time in September 2014. (@OnuItalia)

Il giornale Italiano delle Nazioni Unite. Ha due redazioni, una a New York, l’altra a Roma.

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