Abolition 2000 – Global Network to Eliminate Nuclear Weapons
World Anti Nuclear DayASTANA – It has become a custom that The ATOM Project calls for an international moment of silence on the Aug. 29 United Nations (UN) International Day against Nuclear Tests in memory of all victims of nuclear weapons testing.

“We are calling for people around the world to observe 11:05 a.m. their local time as a moment of silence,” said The ATOM Project Honorary Ambassador Karipbek Kuyukov.“That time was chosen because the clock hands show a V, which stands for victory. This moment is meant to signify a victory of common sense over fear and a victory for global efforts towards a nuclear-weapons-free world.”

This year The ATOM Project team is also planning to join the Federation of Judo Veterans, an organization composed of staunch believers in a world free of nuclear weapons, in their peaceful rally in front of the city’s Alau Sports Palace. The judokas of the Kazakh federation will release white doves and balloons in honour of the nuclear explosions victims and hold the minute of silence at 11.05 a.m.

On the date in 2012, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev addressed a major international parliamentary conference in the capital and launched The ATOM Project as a way to generate global popular support for a permanent end to nuclear weapons testing and, ultimately, the abolition of nuclear weapons.

More than 200,000 people from over 100 countries have now signed the petition of The ATOM Project calling on global leaders to ensure early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty. To sign, please go to www.TheAtomProject.org/100k.

Earlier this month, the people of Kazakhstan shared the pain of dozens of thousands of Japanese who perished in the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings on Aug. 6 and 9, 1945 in an Aug. 6 observance at the city’s Otan Ana Defenders of the Motherland monument. The dreadful nuclear explosions resulted in the loss of nearly 130,000 Japanese lives.

Both countries share a tragic nuclear past that has marred the earth and taken the lives of millions of people throughout the decades. Kazakhstan, which initiated the Aug. 29 Day against Nuclear Tests, remembers clearly that from 1949 to 1991, the USSR conducted more than 450 nuclear weapons tests and hence is eager to play a key role in nuclear non-proliferation by proposing various initiatives.

In his Aug. 6 speech, Japanese Ambassador in Kazakhstan Kamohara Masayoshi said that “the people of Japan are calling on the entire world not to repeat such tragedies.” He noted there are in excess of 16,000 units of nuclear weapons in the world today, adding “this number is more than enough to destroy the entire human race and that is extremely dangerous.”

Japan and Kazakhstan will jointly co-chair the conference to enforce the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) for two years starting in September. The nations take over the Article XIV Presidency from Hungary and Indonesia, whose foreign ministers have chaired the conference since 2013.

“Article XIV of the CTBT stipulates that if the CTBT has not entered into force three years after the date of the anniversary of its opening for signature (1996), member states may request to hold a conference every two years to discuss what measures can be undertaken to accelerate the ratification process to facilitate the entry into force of the CTBT. This year’s conference will be the ninth Article XIV conference to be held since the first one in 1999,” noted the website projectforthectbt.org.

The CTBT would ultimately ban all nuclear explosions in all environments for either military or civilian purposes. The treaty was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1996 but can only be enacted should eight specific countries – China, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan and USA – both sign and ratify it. Although 183 states have signed the treaty and 164 ratified it, those nations have not yet followed suit.

“Nearly two decades after the CTBT was negotiated, the time has long passed for its entry into force,” said UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in an Aug. 17 statement on the upcoming UN International Day against Nuclear Tests. “The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) is essential for the elimination of nuclear weapons.  It is a legally binding, verifiable means by which to constrain the quantitative and qualitative development of nuclear weapons.”

Ban continued, saying: “On this International Day, I repeat my longstanding call on all remaining States to sign and ratify the Treaty — especially the eight necessary for its entry into force — as a critical step on the road to a nuclear-weapon-free world.”

The ATOM Project is an international petition campaign designed to unify support for an end to nuclear weapons testing and a world free from nuclear weapons.

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.

“We have an opportunity to once more remind the world about the tragic consequences of nuclear testing and to push the global community towards more decisive actions to achieve a final and definitive ban of such testing,” Nazarbayev told the conference in Astana in August 2012. “Under the [ATOM] project, any human being on Earth who stands against nuclear weapons can sign an online petition urging governments of the world to abandon nuclear tests forever and ensure early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. I urge the participants of the conference and all people of goodwill to support The ATOM Project and make the creation of a non-nuclear weapons world our main goal.”

“We hope the Aug. 29 Global Moment of Silence will bring the world one step closer to that goal,” said Kuyukov, a second generation survivor of nuclear weapons tests and a famous armless artist.