25th Anniversary of Nuclear Test Site Closure to Be Marked with Global Nuclear Disarmament Conference
June 6, 2016
ASTANA, June 6, 2016 – The Senate of the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan in partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan and Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament (PNND) will present on Aug. 28-29 in Astana the conference “Building a Nuclear Weapon-Free World.”
The conference will gather leading parliamentarians, prominent politicians, diplomats and disarmament experts, as well as religious leaders and civil society representatives from around the world to discuss further steps the mankind needs to take to advance meaningfully towards global nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament.
The conference will coincide with the 25th anniversary of the closing of the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site and Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev will address the conference to commemorate the
Beginning with the first Soviet nuclear weapon test at the Semipalatinsk site in eastern Kazakhstan on Aug. 29, 1949, this former Soviet republic suffered more than 450 Soviet nuclear weapon tests at the site before it was closed at the urging of the Kazakh people and President Nazarbayev on August 29, 1991. According to the UN, over these decades, the tests negatively affected the health of more than 1.5 million Kazakh citizens including many who, to this day, in the first and the second generations, suffer early death, lifelong debilitating illness and horrific birth defects.
The conference is also set to include various exhibitions including an exhibition of the paintings of The ATOM Project Honorary Ambassador Karipbek Kuyukov. Kuyukov is a globally recognised anti-nuclear weapons activist and renowned artist who was born without arms as a result of his parents’ exposure to the Soviet nuclear weapon tests. He has overcome that obstacle to devote his art to the victims of nuclear weapon testing and the fight for a nuclear-weapons-free world.
The closing of the nuclear test site and Kazakhstan’s voluntary renunciation of what was then the fourth largest nuclear weapons arsenal in the world is considered a profound contribution by the country to the global nuclear disarmament process.
On the initiative of Kazakhstan, the UN proclaimed Aug. 29 as the International Day Against Nuclear Tests and this date is now commemorated annually worldwide. Kazakhstan also initiated the Universal Declaration on the Achievement of a Nuclear Weapon Free World adopted by the UN General Assembly in December 2015.
The conference is also expected to highlight and discuss the recent Manifest “The World. The 21st Century” by President Nazarbayev offers a global strategy to destroy the virus of war and eliminate the threat of nuclear terrorism.