'The Damage Caused by Past Nuclear Testing Cannot Be Reversed'

While the damage caused by past nuclear testing cannot be reversed, the international community can work toward a better future where nuclear testing and proliferation are banned outright, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on 26 September 2014 said.
An atmospheric nuclear test conducted by the United States at Enewetak Atoll, Marshall Islands, on 1 November 1952. Photo: US Government | Reproduced from UN News Centre

An atmospheric nuclear test conducted by the United States at Enewetak Atoll, Marshall Islands, on 1 November 1952. Photo: US Government | Re-posted from UN News Centre.

In remarks delivered to the Seventh Ministerial Meeting of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), Ban pressed all those countries that have yet to ratify the treaty to do so as it would protect the world from the harmful effects of fallout and the possibility of nuclear warfare.

“This treaty bans all nuclear tests, constrains the development and proliferation of nuclear weapons, and contributes to progress on nuclear disarmament,” Ban told the delegates, adding that it would also help protect the environment against the “harmful radioactive by-products of nuclear tests.”

Needed Ratifications

As he recalled his recent visit to the Pacific region, historically used by Member States to test their nuclear weapons, Ban noted the impact nuclear testing could have on civilians and their immediate habitats and underscored the “injustice of how innocent people in tranquil islands were exposed to harmful radiation.”

Out of a total listed number of 195 States, 183 have so far signed the CTBT and 163 have ratified it. For the treaty to enter into force, ratification is required from the so-called Annex 2 States. Of these, China, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, Pakistan and the United States, have yet to ratify it.

In observing that he had never missed a CTBT meeting in his eight years as UN chief, Ban appealed to the remaining eight Annex 2 states to ratify the Treaty with urgency and underlined his “commitment” that he would “continue to ban nuclear tests.”

“Let us ban nuclear tests,” he affirmed. “And let us do everything possible to secure this Treaty’s entry into force for the sake of our planet and all living beings.”

Speaking at the meeting, United States Secretary of State, John Kerry, similarly upheld the importance of the CTBT, suggesting that it remained ‘a critical part of our ability to strip the world of nuclear weapons.”

Kerry argued that the United Nations as an institution granted Member States the opportunity to resolve conflict while moving away from deterrence by nuclear weapons and he reiterated the United States’ “unshakeable commitment to ratifying this treaty into force.” (*Source: UN Release).

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