By Jamshed Baruah
BERLIN | VIENNA (IDN) - An international group of students and young graduates has decided to campaign for North Korea and seven other hold-out states ratifying a global treaty banning all nuclear tests so that it becomes legally binding for all states.
Since the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) was opened for signature twenty years ago, 183 countries have signed it, of which 164 have also ratified it, including three of the nuclear weapon States: France, Russia and the United Kingdom.
But 44 specific nuclear technology holder countries must sign and ratify before the CTBT can enter into force. Of these, China, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan and the USA are still missing. In fact, India, North Korea and Pakistan have yet to sign the CTBT.
North Korea is the only country that has conducted four nuclear tests – in 2006, 2009, 2013 and 2016 – persistently defying the international community. Just hours after the UN Security Council approved on March 2 the toughest sanctions on North Korea in two decades for its recent nuclear test and long-range rocket launch, Pyongyang fired six short-range projectiles into the sea.
The Vienna-based Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), announced on March 3 the launch of a ‘CTBTO Youth Group’, adding that it was set up at the symposium on Science and Diplomacy for Peace and Security: the CTBT@20, held in the Austrian capital from January 25 to February 4, 2016. The importance of engaging youth was one of the main outcomes of the symposium.
CTBTO Executive Secretary Dr. Lassina Zerbo said: “There was a lot of enthusiasm for the fact that so many of the next generation were able to take part in the symposium, both online and in person. I share this enthusiasm and want all of the younger participants to know that I am grateful for your interest and for the energy you bring to our common cause.”
He added: “In this year where we reflect on the 20th anniversary of the CTBT’s opening for signature, I believe that the time has come to bring youth more firmly on board. I wish to invite all students and young graduates who are directing their careers to contribute to global peace and security to join a new CTBTO Youth Group.”
The group is open to all students and young graduates who are directing their careers to contribute to global peace and security and who wish to actively engaging in promoting the CTBT and its verification regime.
The CTBTO said the Youth Group “has already gathered a large number of young prominent members who are ready to commit to advancing the cause of banning nuclear tests”.
Current group members are undergraduate and graduate students from their countries’ top universities, such as the Nangarhar University (Afghanistan), the University of Western Ontario (Canada), the University of Lahore (Pakistan), MGIMO-University (Russian Federation), Oxford University (UK), Cambridge University (UK), George Washington University, Stanford University, Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, UC Davis (all USA).
The group’s activities are run by its members, the announcement said, adding that CTBTO staff stand ready to support the group through access to CTBTO educational material, networks and forums. The Group has identified following main objectives:
- Revitalize the discussion around the CTBT among decision-makers, academia, students, expert society and media;
- Raise awareness of the importance of the nuclear test-ban;
- Build a basis for knowledge transfer to the younger generation;
- Involve new technologies into promoting the CTBT – social media, digital visualization, interactive means of delivering information etc.;
- Place the CTBT on the agenda of the world’s most important nuclear-related events.
IDN is the flagship of International Press Syndicate.
Photo: (from left) Sarah Bidgood, Anastasia Shavrova, Shizuka Kuramitsu, Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo, Sahil Shah, and Nelson Zhao. Credit: CTBTO