March 2 Oslo Events Release

March 4, 2013

Nazarbayev Center Presents The ATOM Project at
International Civil Society Forum in Oslo

OSLO, March 2, 2013 – On March 2, a Kazakhstan delegation, including Honorary Ambassador of the ATOM Project Karipbek Kuyukov, participated in the International Civil Society Forum in Oslo organized by the non-governmental organization ICAN (International Campaign for the abolition of nuclear weapons). This event brought together more than 400 participants from NGOs from more than 100 countries.

As part of the event, the ATOM Project was presented to the attention of the Forum participants.

Speaking at the presentation, Deputy Director of the Nazarbayev Center Roman Vassilenko informed the participants and guests of the Forum about the efforts of Kazakhstan and the international community on liquidation of consequences of nuclear tests at the former Semipalatinsk nuclear test site, and stressed the importance of further work in both helping victims of testing and promoting stronger efforts towards global nuclear disarmament.

In his remarks, Vassilenko underlined: “Since the first days of independence, President Nursultan Nazarbayev has determined as the top priority ensuring global security, in particular, through non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and nuclear disarmament.”

“We firmly believe that the stronger the public support generated by the ATOM Project through its educational and outreach efforts and its international campaign aimed at collecting petition signatures for putting a permanent legal end to nuclear weapons testing, the greater opportunity it will have in attracting additional support for the efforts of governments, parliaments, non-governmental organizations and activists, to push for more decisive steps towards global nuclear disarmament,” Vassilenko said. “As a result, it will help influence leaders of world powers to make further steps towards achieving peace and a world free from nuclear weapons. We call on all people of good will to support the ATOM Project and to make a world without nuclear weapons our most important goal for a brighter future.”

“We have the right to say that we have done what the world and ourselves have not fully appreciated yet. A little-known nation has achieved what has been too much for the great powers – it has made the first real step towards universal nuclear disarmament, stopped testing in the Soviet Union,” Karipbek Kuyukov said as he addressed the event.
In 1991, the Soviet nuclear test site in Semipalatinsk was shut down by the Decree of the President of the then Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic Nursultan Nazarbayev where more than 450 nuclear weapons tests were conducted. As a result of radiation, during these and subsequent years 1.5 million people suffered in the region and a huge swath of land was polluted with radiation.

In his speech, Kuyukov noted the important role of the ATOM Project in building a nuclear weapons free world.

“Today, we have the right to note that the ATOM Project has contributed to strengthening the understanding of the world community towards the need to struggle against the nuclear threat, understanding the common destiny of the people of our Planet,” he said. “And now we have to mobilize global public opinion more widely than ever, in order to eliminate nuclear weapons.”
Earlier, in 2012 similar presentations of The ATOM Project took place in The Hague (The Netherlands), at the United Nations Office in Geneva (Switzerland) and in Washington, DC (USA).

At the forum, the Kazakhstan delegation met with scholars and representatives of non-governmental organizations dealing with nuclear disarmament issues. Rebecca Johnson, executive director of the London-based Acronym Institute of Disarmament Diplomacy expressed deep gratitude to Kazakhstan for consistent efforts in nuclear disarmament area. “I want to thank Kazakhstan for what you have already done. It is very important as it gives other countries an example of the reality of nuclear disarmament.”

During a very engaging meeting with Tore Naerland, founder and president of the international organization Bike for Peace (Oslo), plans were discussed for joint actions both in Kazakhstan and in other countries such as Russia and the United States. Naerland, who organized and participated in a bike ride from Semey to Almaty to Astana in August 2011, as well as organized and participated in multiple bike rides for peace on different continents since 1970s, believes the success of actions of civil activists from Kazakhstan and other countries lies through the unification of their efforts.

“I want to say ‘Rakhmet’ to Kazakhstan for both your contribution and hospitality! I want to go back to Kazakhstan! We need to work together for more decisive progress! And we need to arrange future bike rides together with the cyclists from Kazakhstan,” Naerland said.

The ATOM Project is being implemented by the Nazarbayev Center. The Nazarbayev Center was established by a Decree of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan on January 23, 2012 as a multifunctional scientific, analytical, humanitarian and educational state institution. The Center is designed as the premier presidential center of its kind, aimed at advancing world peace and development through humanitarian engagement and cutting-edge research, education, and awareness initiatives. The Center is located in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan.

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The ATOM Project is an international campaign designed to unify global public opinion against nuclear weapons testing that features the tragic stories of survivors of the Semipalatinsk nuclear testing site in the Eastern Kazakhstan. The survivors and their descendants continue to suffer from diseases caused by exposure of nuclear radiation.

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Press release

Contacts in Oslo:
Artur Abubakirov, mobile phone + 77019336752,

Contacts in Astana:
Nadezhda Khamitova, mobile phone + 77016129936,