Nuclear test ban treaty a “central pillar” of global disarmament


The legacy of nuclear testing is “nothing but destruction,” and in a world of rising tensions, “collective security depends” on bringing a global treaty banning nuclear explosions into force United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said.

“I reiterate my call for all States which have not yet done so, to sign and ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, especially where ratification is needed for the Treaty’s entry into force,” he urged in a message for the International Day Against Nuclear Tests, observed annually on 29 August.

The Treaty, known by the acronym CTBT, is a central pillar of international efforts to advancing nuclear disarmament.

Despite wide supported – with 184 signatories and 168 ratifying States – it has not yet entered into force, more than two decades after its adoption.

“Honouring victims requires bringing nuclear testing to a permanent end,” he said adding “an effective and legally-binding prohibition remains one of the longest unfulfilled goals of nuclear disarmament.”

The UN chief stressed CTBT is vital to ensuring there are no more victims; it is also essential to advancing nuclear disarmament.

The International Day against Nuclear Tests marks the closing, in 1991, of the nuclear test site in Semipalatinsk, Kazakhstan, the largest in the former Soviet Union. More than 450 tests took place there, with impacts felt decades later.
The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO) is a Vienna-based international organisation to be established on the entry into force of the CTBT. It will be tasked with verifying the ban and will operate a worldwide monitoring system and may conduct on-site inspections.

The Preparatory Commission for the CTBTO, a UN partner forum, was set up in 1997 and consists of a plenary body composed of all States signatories to the Treaty and a Provisional Technical Secretariat.

Lassina Zerbo, Executive Secretary of the CTBTO and Beibut Atamkulov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan, issued a joint statement to mark the International Day.

“Kazakhstan and the CTBTO encourage States and civil society to join forces to end to nuclear testing through advancing the much-needed entry into force of the CTBT,” they said.

The joint statement mentioned the “Nazarbayev Prize for a Nuclear-Weapons-Free World and Global Security”, to be awarded to CTBTO and late Director General, Yukiya Amano, of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Saying it is “high time” to bring the Treaty into force, the joint statement urged countries to “take the last steps and finish one of the longest sought international instruments in the area of non-proliferation and disarmament.”