UNPO and WUC Release Joint Statement on the UN International Day Against Nuclear Tests
UNPO, 30 August 2012
Brussels – As the world marks the 2012 UN International Day Against Nuclear Tests – eighteen months after the Fukushima nuclear accident – the risks of civil and military nuclear power have never been clearer since the Chernobyl accident of 1986.
The People’s Republic of China (PRC) ended over three decades of nuclear testing ten years after the Chernobyl accident, by which time forty-six confirmed nuclear detonations had been conducted in and around Lop Nor, East Turkestan. The tests left local Uyghur communities suffering from cancers, debilitating illnesses, and birth defects. Today access to medical facilities remains limited and costly, forcing many to suffer without medical attention.
Remarking on the anniversary, Marino Busdachin (UNPO General Secretary), called for “light to be shed on a tragedy that remains virtually unknown…there is a responsibility to call Beijing to account for the cost to the Uyghur community.” Speaking at the international conference ‘50 Years After Test 596,’ Dolkun Isa (World Uyghur Congress) urged the EU to ‘speak on behalf of the victims…to give voices to those silenced by a repressive government.’
Despite the tests’ impact on local lives and livelihoods, Beijing has prohibited any independent investigation into the full extent of the tests and their consequences. Instead it has built a ‘wall of secrecy’ reminiscent of the Soviet Union while Communist Party leaders, such as Bo Xilai, have used the tests to glorify a Maoist past but negate their human cost.
In contributing to the conference, ‘50 Years After Test 596’, Kristiina Ojuland MEP noted that currently ‘a culture of state secrecy prevents any constructive steps being taken to mitigate the effects of successive nuclear tests.’