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LONDON, 16 September 2019 – The Honorary Ambassador of The ATOM Project (Abolish Testing. Our Mission) Karipbek Kuyukov concluded his visit to the United Kingdom by attending events to mark the International Day against Nuclear Tests in Edinburgh, Manchester and London.
In Edinburgh, Mr. Kuyukov met with the Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education of Scotland, John Swinney MSP. The sides stressed the immorality of the possession and use of nuclear weapons and reaffirmed the common goal of achieving a world without nuclear weapons and nuclear tests. Mr. Kuyukov shared the tragic experience of the nuclear test site in Kazakhstan and called on Mr. Swinney to sign the ATOM Project’s online petition aimed at a complete nuclear test ban.
The Scottish Parliament hosted an exhibition of Mr. Kuyukov’s works, with three of his new paintings on the history, consequences and the future of nuclear tests being unveiled.
Member of the Scottish Parliament and Co-President of Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament (PNND) Bill Kidd MSP sponsored the event.
“It was a proud moment to welcome such a famous artist, who raises awareness of the terrible dangers to humanity of nuclear weapons and nuclear testing, into the Scottish Parliament. His paintings are done with such skill whilst evoking deep emotion. To hear Karipbek’s powerful statements and view his remarkable paintings was something that no-one who was there will ever forget,” said Mr. Kidd.
The Scottish branch of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) also recorded videos for schoolchildren with Mr. Kuyukov. Those will be aimed at rejecting the very concept of nuclear weapons and revealing the moral aspects and the impact of this type of weapon on humanity.
The Manchester visit was special due to the fact that Kazakhstan has a special relationship with this city which became the first nuclear-free zone in the UK. Manchester and Kazakhstan’s Semey work side by side as part of Mayors for Peace to achieve a nuclear-weapon-free world.
The visit started with Mr. Kuyukov’s meeting with the Lord Mayor of Manchester, Councillor Abid Latif Chohan, who spoke about the City Council’s work as the Vice-President of Mayors for Peace and presented Mr. Kuyukov with a pin of a citizen of Manchester City. Mr. Kuyukov left an entry in the Lord Mayor’s guest book that read “Together for peace!”.
The Manchester stage concluded with Mr. Kuyukov’s exhibition and speech at a seminar hosted by the Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) and UK & Ireland Mayors, Provosts and Leaders for Peace Chapter. The theme of the seminar was “Humanitarian impacts, costs and dangers of nuclear weapons in the campaign for peace”.
Mr. Kuyukov shared the story of his and many other families affected by nuclear tests and stressed that he was proud of being a citizen of the country that refused the fourth largest nuclear arsenal in the world. He also expressed hope that other countries would follow Kazakhstan’s example.
The UK tour’s final event was organised by the London office of the Foundation of the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan – Elbasy. The roundtable discussed the First President’s initiatives announced on 29 August 2019, at the ceremony of awarding the Nazarbayev Prize for Nuclear Weapon Free World and Global Security. Representatives of UK think tanks, experts from the universities of Cambridge, Oxford, Loughborough, the London School of Economics and Political Science, as well as leading academic organisations specialising in Central Asia attended the event.
The round table featured a screening of “Where the Wind Blew”, a documentary by a famous British film director Andre Singer about Nursultan Nazarbayev’s historic decision to ban nuclear tests in Kazakhstan and close the Semipalatinsk Test Site.
“Today’s event gave us the contemporary history of the nuclear programme and its effects on ordinary citizens of Kazakhstan and outside. This is very moving because it brought together communities from around the globe to ultimately bring a halt to nuclear testing. Kazakhstan’s initiatives are very important at this time in our history as some states are beginning to re-embrace nuclear proliferation, and we have to remind ourselves of the cost of such proliferation, and the costs are too high,” said the Professor of the London School of Economics and Political Science Chris Alden.