Banning nuclear weapons testing "critical step" on road to nuclear-free world

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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe (file)

A call on remaining states to join the global treaty on banning nuclear weapons so it can take effect has been made by the UN Secretary-General on the International Day against Nuclear Testing, observed on 29 August.

Ban Ki-moon welcomed the voluntary moratoria on nuclear testing imposed by nations possessing nuclear weapons, but said it is not enough.

Maria Carlino reports.

Since nuclear weapons were first used in 1945, more than 2,000 nuclear tests have been carried out at different locations all over the world.

The tests have poisoned groundwater, and caused cancer and radioactive fallout.

Many pristine environments and populated communities have never recovered from their damaging effects.

In a message on the Fifth International Day against Nuclear Tests, the UN Secretary-General said the best way to honour the victims of past tests is to prevent any in the future.

Ban Ki-moon said that nearly two decades after a global treaty to ban the use of nuclear weapons was negotiated, the time has long past for it to take effect.

Mr Ban said the voluntary moratoria on testing imposed by nations that possess nuclear weapons cannot be a substitute for a legally-binding treaty.

He said the entry into force of the comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty is a "critical step" on the road to a nuclear-weapon-free world.

So far 183 countries have signed the treaty, but eight specific nations that possess nuclear technology must also join before it can take effect.

Maria Carlino, United Nations.

Duration: 1’03″

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