“Many victims still struggle with the scars of decades of nuclear weapon testing,” said Honorary Ambassador Kuyukov
The ATOM Project is urging the international community to observe a moment of silence during the August 29 UN International Day against Nuclear Tests in memory of all nuclear weapons-testing victims.
The ATOM Project and its Honorary Ambassador, Karipbek Kuyukov, would like people around the world to observe 11:05 a.m. their local time as a moment of silence. The exact 11:05 a.m. time was chosen because at that time, analog clock hands form a “V,” symbolizing victory. The moment of silence and the representation of victory honor those who have suffered and urges the international community to continue to seek victory over the nuclear weapons threat.
“The effort continues to bring the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty into force and to permanently end the weapons testing. Still today, there are many living victims of nuclear weapons testing struggling with the emotional and physical scars of decades of nuclear weapons tests,” said Kuyukov.
Kuyukov, himself, was born without arms as a result of his parents’ exposure to nuclear weapons testing. He has overcome that challenge to become a renowned artist and globally recognized nonproliferation activist. He has devoted his art to capturing the images of nuclear weapons testing victims and his life to the elimination of the nuclear threat. He is one of more than 1.5 million Kazakhs negatively impacted by exposure to nuclear-weapons testing.
On Dec. 2, 2009, the 64th session the United Nations General assembly established by unanimous vote the United Nations International Day against Nuclear Tests. The vote was initiated by Kazakhstan to commemorate the date in 1991 – August 29 – when Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev made the historic decision to close the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site in East Kazakhstan, where 456 nuclear tests were conducted. August 29 in 1949 was the date of the first Soviet nuclear weapon test there.
The ATOM Project, an acronym for “Abolish Testing. Our Mission,” is an international effort launched in 2012 to permanently end nuclear weapons testing and seek elimination of all nuclear weapons. The moment of silence on August 29 has been observed globally at The ATOM Project’s initiative since 2013.
The ATOM Project seeks to unify support for the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). The treaty was open for signature in 1996 and has been signed by 183 nations. It has been ratified by 166 countries, however, it has not entered into force because it has not been signed or ratified by eight specific states listed in CTBT Annex II – China, Egypt, India, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan and the United States.
With the observance of the International Day against Nuclear Tests and the accompanying moment of silence, Kuyukov and The ATOM Project urge people around the world to remain vigilant in the effort to achieve a nuclear weapons-free world.
From August 28 to September 2, Astana will host the International Conference of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO) entitled “Remembering the Past, Looking to the Future”. The conference coincides with the International Day against Nuclear Tests on August 29, which was introduced by the UN General Assembly in 2009 at the initiative of the President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev.
The five-day conference will gather together the Group of Eminent Persons (GEM) and the Youth Group (CYG) to discuss the role of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation towards building a lasting global peace, including by enhancing the status of the Treaty.