International Day against Nuclear Tests

The International Day against Nuclear Tests commemorates the closure of the Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test site in Kazakhstan on 29 August 1991.The Day is meant to galvanize the United Nations, member states, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, academic institutions, youth networks, and the media to inform, educate and advocate the necessity of ending nuclear weapon tests as a valuable step towards achieving a safer world.

It is also a day to remember the victims and survivors of nuclear testing, as well as of the legacy impacts of the production of nuclear weapons, including nuclear waste. On the occasion of the first International Day against Nuclear Tests, 29 August 2009, the government of Kazakhstan made an important proposal: the establishment of an international fund—to be managed by the United Nations—to support the survivors of nuclear testing. WILPF supported this call then and now and calls upon the UN Secretary-General to help mobilize resources for the remediation of contamination and health monitoring and rehabilitation of downwinders near nuclear test sites around the world. States responsible for the testing at major test sites should report on their current and future efforts and resource allocations to address the health and environmental impacts of nuclear testing and to rehabilitate populations that have been particularly impacted.

Like many other non-governmental organizations, WILPF has sought a universal ban on nuclear weapons testing since the first test was conducted in Almogordo, New Mexico on 16 July 1945. However, WILPF opposes not just nuclear weapons testing, but also the design, development, modernization, financing, deployment, and possession of nuclear weapons. The International Day against Nuclear Tests provides another opportunity to think about banning not just nuclear tests, but nuclear weapons themselves.

Events to mark the International Day against Nuclear Tests

Informal meeting of the UN General Assembly to mark the observance of the International Day against Nuclear Tests, 5 September 2013, UN Headquarters, Trusteeship Council

The meeting will be convened by His Excellency Mr. Vuk Jeremić, President of the 67th session of the UN General Assembly, and organized in cooperation with the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Kazakhstan. The official opening ceremony will be followed by a High-Level Panel on the theme of “The Path to Zero: The Role of the United Nations in Nuclear Disarmament and Non-Proliferation.”

Exhibition: Peace Now: Abolish Nuclear Tests and Weapons, 4–8 September 2013, Main Corridor, First Floor, Conference Building of the UN Headquarters. Inauguration on 4 September at 6pm.

This exhibition will portray the paintings of the world renowned Kazakh artist, Mr. Karipbek Kuyukov, who paints only with his feet, being a victim of the effects of nuclear radiation. His art depicts the triumph of the human spirit over the horrors of nuclear testing. He is the designated Ambassador of the ATOM Project and has received international acclaim for his committed and tireless advocacy to achieve total nuclear abolition. 

The Informal Meeting and the Exhibition are open to all diplomats, think-tanks, the academic community, civil society and the media. Those without a UN Grounds Pass interested in these events should contact itilegen[at]yahoo.com or tel.: +1 (212) 230-1900, ext. 322.