By Harrison Arubu
United Nations – UN Secretary-General António Guterres has renewed his call for a total ban on nuclear weapons testing.
This came in a message to mark this year’s International Day Against Nuclear Tests observed on Aug. 29 annually.
According to Guterres, this year’s commemoration comes 75 years after the first-ever nuclear test conducted by the United States in July, 1945.
That test resulted in the country’s atomic bomb attacks on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on Aug. 6 and 9, 1945, respectively.
No fewer than 226,000 people, mostly civilians, died as a result of the two attacks.
The UN Chief said no fewer than “2,000 nuclear tests have been conducted by at least eight countries” since 1945.
He said the effects had been “profound, harmful and long-lasting on the environment, human health and the economic development of some of the world’s most fragile regions.”
Guterres said: “Despite these impacts and the widespread global support for a legally binding prohibition, the Comprehensive-Nuclear-Test Ban has yet to enter into force.
“I once again urge all states that have not signed or ratified the Treaty to do so without further delay.
“The nuclear menace is once again on the rise.
“A complete ban on nuclear testing is an essential step in preventing the qualitative and quantitative improvement of nuclear weapons and in achieving nuclear disarmament.
“On this International Day, we also recognise the survivors of nuclear tests, and the suffering that they have endured and that our world will endure for decades and even generations.
“The best way to honour the victims of nuclear tests is to prevent any in the future.
“Nuclear testing is a relic of another age and should have no place in the 21st century.”
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the International Day Against Nuclear Tests was established by the UN General Assembly through Resolution 64/35 on Dec. 2, 2009.
It was first observed on Aug. 29, 2010 on the anniversary of the closure of the Semipalatinsk test site in Kazakhstan whose government initiated the resolution.
The event aims at increasing awareness ” about the effects of nuclear weapon test explosions or any other nuclear explosions, and the need for their cessation” to achieve a nuclear-weapon-free world.(NAN)