UN chief calls for entry into force of nuclear test ban treaty

By: | Published: August 30, 2016 9:16 PM

UN chief Ban Ki-moon has said that nations must work together for early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), underlining the "catastrophic risks" posed by atomic weapons to environmental security and human existence.

BanKi-Re-L“On this International Day against Nuclear Tests, I call on the world to summon a sense of solidarity commensurate with the urgent need to end the dangerous impasse on this issue,” the Secretary General said in his message marking the International Day against Nuclear Tests. (Reuters)

UN chief Ban Ki-moon has said that nations must work together for early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), underlining the “catastrophic risks” posed by atomic weapons to environmental security and human existence.

“On this International Day against Nuclear Tests, I call on the world to summon a sense of solidarity commensurate with the urgent need to end the dangerous impasse on this issue,” the Secretary General said in his message marking the International Day against Nuclear Tests.

He lamented that since its adoption 20 years ago by the General Assembly, the multilateral treaty has yet to enter into force. The CTBT is a multilateral treaty that bans all nuclear explosions, for both civilian and military purposes, in all environments. It was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on September 10, 1996 but has not entered into force as eight specific states have not yet ratified the treaty.

“Given the catastrophic risks posed by nuclear weapons to our collective human and environmental security – even our very existence – we must reject this stalemate,” he said. In previous years, the UN chief had specifically asked India, Pakistan, China and the US to ratify the CTBT, saying that the entry-into-force of the Treaty is an “essential building block”.

To date, 183 countries have signed the treaty and 164 have ratified CTBT. For the treaty to enter into force, ratification is required from the so-called Annex 2 States. Of these, China, North Korea, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, Pakistan and the United States, have yet to ratify it.

Urging Member States to “act now”, Ban said those States whose ratification is required to bring the Treaty into force should not wait for others.
“Even one ratification can act as a circuit breaker. All States that have not done so should sign and ratify because every ratification strengthens the norm of universality and shines a harsher spotlight on the countries that fail to act,” he said.

Ban also stressed the power of political will that can break longstanding deadlocks, as demonstrated in the adoption of ambitious new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on climate change.

He said a prohibition on all nuclear testing will end a “poisonous legacy”, adding that it will boost momentum for other disarmament measures by showing that multilateral cooperation is possible, and it will build confidence for other regional security measures, including a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction.

In 2009, the UN General Assembly had declared August 29 the “International Day against Nuclear Tests”.

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