SG Ban Ki-moon said the 20th anniversary of the CTBTO is a call to action to end nuclear testing.
The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty CTBT had its 20 year anniversary on April 27. It bans nuclear explosions on the Earth's surface, underwater and underground as well as in the atmosphere.
The event was held in Vienna with the presence of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. He urged veteran officials and young leaders to push towards the entry into force of the treaty.
Ban emphasized this anniversary wasn't a celebration but instead a call to action to end nuclear testing. He also wanted to commemorate the victims and to recognize the value of the CTBTO.
“We are here to honour the victims. The best tribute to them is action to ban and to stop nuclear testing. Their sufferings should teach the world to end this madness."
More so, he said the CTBTO has proven to be worthy in the recent Fukushima crisis and in the last tests done by North Korea.
“Our planet still faces, however, the threat of nuclear weapons,” he said, referring to the record-breaking signing of the Paris Agreement. It aims for a environmentally sustainable world, but for this, nuclear testing must not continue.
He reached to young leaders to press their governments to take action, to raise their voices and demand the possibility of a better world for their children and grandchildren.
Between 1945 and 1996, according to the CTBTO, 2000 nuclear tests were carried out, specially by the United States (1000+) and the Soviet Union (700+). Since 1996 3 countries have tested nuclear weapons, breaking the facto moratorium, India and Pakistan in 1998 and North Korea in 2006, 2009, 2013 and 2016.
The treaty was negotiated in Geneva between 1994 and 1996. It was signed by 183 countries but ratified only by 164, although its a large number it is necessary for 44 of the nuclear holding states to sign for it to enter into force.
From these countries, 8 are still missing, China, USA, Egypt, Iran, Israel, North Korea and Pakistan.
“The eight countries that must ratify for entry into force have a special responsibility. They can advance us on the road to a nuclear-weapon-free world,” said Ban.
Ban Ki-moon served as CTBTO chairman nearly 20 years ago, and committed to stopping nuclear tests long before he became Secretary General. “Nuclear testing poisons water, causes cancers, and pollutes the area with radioactive fallout for generations and generations to come,” he remarked.
He concluded his speech saying, “let us pledge today that we will not cease until all States are party to the Treaty. That way we can leave a safer world, free of nuclear tests, to our children and to succeeding generations of this world."