UNITED NATIONS, Sept.5 (Xinhua) -- Top UN officials on Thursday repeated their calls for a global ban on nuclear tests in a bid to eliminate the horrific effects of nuclear weapons on human lives and environment.
"We should all remember the terrible toll of nuclear tests," Ban said in his message to the General Assembly on the fourth observance of the International Day against Nuclear Tests. "It is time to address the horrific human and environmental effects of nuclear tests through a global ban, the most reliable means to meet these challenges."
The International Day against Nuclear Tests highlights the efforts of the UN and a growing community of advocates, including member states, non-governmental organizations, academia, and media, to improve awareness of the importance of a nuclear test ban.
The General Assembly held an informal session Thursday, under the theme "The Path to Zero," giving member states the opportunity to weigh in on the issue.
"Throughout its history, efforts have also been underway at the United Nations to achieve an even bolder goal: a world free from nuclear weapons," Ban said. "This is one of my highest priorities and one that is shared by virtually all our member states and that has broad public support."
The UN chief called on the international community to resolve to "outlaw all nuclear tests, everywhere, for all time."
Vuk Jeremic, president of the General Assembly, joined Ban's call to member states by encouraging them to participate in the historic journey to a world free of nuclear tests and nuclear weapons.
Jeremic recalled the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by saying "what happened there is a permanent reminder of the horrible, unmatched devastation caused by the use of nuclear weapons. Any test, conducted by anyone anywhere, increases the likelihood they will be used again one day."
The UN General Assembly chose August 29 each year as the annual commemoration date since 1991 when Semipalatinsk, one of the world 's largest test sites located in north-eastern Kazakhstan, was closed permanently.