Atom Project Calls for Minute of Silence on Aug. 29
August 6, 2013
ASTANA, Aug. 6 – The ATOM Project calls on all people of the world to observe a minute of silence on Aug. 29, the UN International Day Against Nuclear Tests, in memory of all victims of nuclear weapons testing.
The moment of silence is proposed for 11.05 a.m. local time across the world. When clock hands show 11:05, they represent the Roman letter V, which stands for victory. It is hoped that it will also signify a victory of common sense over fear and a victory for nuclear disarmament efforts around the world.
On Aug. 29, 2012, Kazakhstans President Nursultan Nazarbayev addressed a major international parliamentary conference in Astana and launched The ATOM Project as a vehicle to generate global popular support for the permanent end to nuclear weapons testing and, ultimately, the abolition of nuclear weapons. Already, more than 70,000 people from more than 100 countries have signed The ATOM Project’s online petition at www.TheATOMProject.org.
From 1949 to 1991, the USSR conducted more than 450 nuclear weapons tests at the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site in eastern Kazakhstan, bringing illness and death to more than 1.5 million people in the region and radioactive pollution to a huge swath of land.
In the second part of the 20th century, nuclear tests were conducted by the United States, China, France and Britain as they developed their nuclear arsenals, as well as India and Pakistan.
Earlier in 2013, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, defying United Nations Security Council resolutions, conducted another of its own nuclear weapons tests, drawing wide international rebuke.
In a special online message dedicated to the fourth annual observance of August 29, 2013, the International Day Against Nuclear Tests, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urged the international community to “maintain our momentum to end nuclear weapons testing and promote the achievement of a world free of nuclear weapons.
“The strong and unified response to the nuclear test announced in February by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea demonstrated the international community’s commitment to uphold the global norm against nuclear tests,” the UN Secretary General said.
“The Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty is a cornerstone of our work. I once again urge all states to sign and ratify the CTBT – especially the eight remaining states whose ratifications are necessary for the treaty to enter into force. At the same time, all states should maintain or implement moratoria on nuclear explosions,” Ban Ki-moon stressed.
“Civil society, academia and the mass media have a crucial advocacy role to play towards accomplishing these goals. Let us work together to end nuclear weapons testing around the world and build a nuclear weapons-free world for our children,” the top UN official said.
The ATOM Project is an international petition campaign designed to unify global public opinion against nuclear weapons testing. The project tells the tragic and hopeful stories of survivors of nuclear testing from the region of Semey. The survivors and their descendants continue to suffer from illness, disease and severe deformities caused by exposure to nuclear radiation during and after the testing, which took place 100 miles outside of the city.
“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,” President Nazarbayev told the conference in Astana in August 2012 as he announced The ATOM Project. “Under the 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.”