With North Korea’s recklessly arrogant young leader Kim Jong-un testing intercontinental ballistic missiles and boasting he would soon have the
nuclear power to blast even cities in the United States, the world tomorrow commemorates the nuclear holocaust in the Japanese city of Hiroshima, followed three days later by the
nuclear bombing of Nagasaki. In the aftermath of the two nuclear catastrophes killed 90,000 to 146,000 people in Hiroshima and 39,000 to 80,000 people in Nagasaki. During the following months, thousands more died from the effects of burns, radiation, sickness and other injuries, compounded by illness and malnutrition.
The equally arrogant and unpredictable US President Donald Trump is threatening to retaliate against North Korea, with some White House officials warning that any mass massacre would be mainly in the Korean Peninsular. But most world political analysts believe Mr. Trump is bluffing and propagating fake news though he knows there is no alternative to a diplomatic solution.
It is in this perspective that the United Nations on August 29 marks the International Day Against Nuclear Tests. The UN says since nuclear weapons testing began on July 16, 1945, nearly 2,000 have taken place. Early on, having nuclear weapons was seen as a measure of scientific sophistication or military might, with little consideration given to the devastating effects of testing on human life, let alone the dangers of nuclear fallout from atmospheric tests. UN hindsight and history have shown us the terrifying and tragic effects of nuclear weapons-testing, especially when controlled conditions go awry, and in the light of the far more powerful and destructive nuclear weapons that exist today.
The human and environmental tragedies, the result of nuclear testing, are compelling reasons for the need to observe the International Day against Nuclear Tests. It is a day on which most countries conduct educational events and issue messages with the aim of capturing the world’s attention and underscoring the need for unified efforts to prevent further nuclear weapons-testing, the UN adds.
The international instrument to put an end to all forms of nuclear testing is the 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), unfortunately, this has yet to enter into force.
On December 2, 2009, the UN General Assembly’s 64th session declared August 29 the International Day against Nuclear Tests by unanimously adopting resolution 64/35. The resolution calls for increasing awareness and education, “about the effects of nuclear weapon test explosions or any other nuclear explosions and the need for their cessation as one of the means of achieving the goal of a nuclear-weapon-free world.”
The UN says the day is meant to galvanize member states, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, academic institutions, youth networks and the media to inform, educate and advocate the necessity of banning nuclear weapon tests as a valuable step towards achieving a safer world.
Moreover, “convinced that nuclear disarmament and the total elimination of nuclear weapons are the only absolute guarantee against the use or threat of nuclear weapons,” the General Assembly designated September 26 as the “International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons”. This is devoted to furthering the objective of the total elimination of nuclear weapons, through the mobilization of international efforts.
Today nine countries including our neighbours, India and Pakistan are known to possess nuclear weapons. The US and Russia are known to have nuclear weapons which are about 50,000 times more powerful than the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. That is why Pope Francis and other world leaders are insisting that nuclear non-proliferation is not enough. They are insisting on total disarmament which could lead to peaceful conflict-resolution through dialogue instead of resorting to war or violence. Let us hope and pray for this miracle to happen.