ATOM project calls for global silent protest against n-tests

Astana, Aug 28 (IANS/EFE) Citizens worldwide have been called to observe a minute of silence at 11.05 a.m. on August 29 to mark the UN International Day Against Nuclear Tests.

The silent demonstration against nuclear testing is an annual call by The ATOM Project.

Kazakh painter and anti-nuclear activist Karipbek Kuyukov, the international campaign’s honorary ambassador, was quoted as saying in an ATOM Project press release this week that the time of day was chosen because the clock hands make a V, the symbol for victory.

“This moment is meant to signify a victory of common sense over fear and a victory for global efforts towards a nuclear-weapons-free world,” he said.

Kuyukov was born without arms as a consequence of the Soviet Union’s nuclear tests at the Semipalatinsk Test Site in eastern Kazakhstan, a region where more than 450 nuclear weapons tests were carried out between 1949 and 1991 and a place with among the highest radiation levels globally.

This year, The ATOM Project will join the Federation of Judo Veterans in a peaceful rally Saturday outside the ALAU Sports Palace in Astana.

The protesters will release doves and balloons in memory of the victims of the nuclear tests and observe the minute of silence at 11:05 local time.

Kazakhstan was declared a nuclear-weapons-free zone by its president, Nursultan Nazarbayev, after the country declared its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.

A decade later The ATOM Project was launched with the goal of generating popular opposition to nuclear testing and ultimately achieving the abolition of nuclear weapons.

Since its founding in 2012, more than 200,000 people from 100 countries have signed The ATOM Project’s online petition calling for the elimination of nuclear weapons.

The ATOM Project has denounced the United States, China, France, Britain, Israel, Pakistan and India for having conducted nuclear tests in the 20th century.

The organisation also condemned North Korea for conducting several tests recently in violation of UN rules.

In August, Kazakhs took part in ceremonies held to mark the 70th anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings and to pay tribute to the tens of thousands of Japanese who were killed.

For two years starting in September, Japan and Kazakhstan are set to co-chair the conference to enforce the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, which was adopted in 1996 by the UN General Assembly.

That treaty has been signed by 183 states and ratified by 164.

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