On 29 August, the International Day against Nuclear Tests, Kazakhstan deposited its instrument of ratification of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, becoming the 26th signatory state to do so. The Treaty will enter into force at the moment of the fiftieth ratification.
As ICAN indicated in a message to its members, from 1949 to 1989, 456 Soviet nuclear tests – including 116 atmospheric tests – were carried out at the Semipalatinsk site in Kazakhstan, with devastating long-term consequences for human health and the environment.
After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Kazakhstan inherited about 1,400 nuclear warheads, which it then dismantled, recognizing that the best way to have security is disarmament.
The date of 29 August 2019 has a special significance for Kazakhstan marking 70 years since the first Soviet nuclear test at the Semipalatinsk site and 28 years since its formal closure.
ICAN congratulated Kazakhstan on its ratification and underlined the continued efforts of Alimzhan Akhmetov, of the Centre for International Security and Policy in Kazakhstan, in encouraging the Kazakh government to take this important step.
Another important moment for building up the numbers of signatures and ratifications will be at the high-level ceremony to be held during the UN General Assembly in New York on 26 September, International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.