ON THE INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR THE TOTAL ELIMINATION OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS COMMEMORATION
26 September, 2023.
to be delivered by Hon. Bootii Nauan,
Minister for Tourism, Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives
Mr. President of the General Assembly,
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Today we gather to renew our call and re-energize our solidarity and commitment to work
collectively towards a better world free of nuclear weapons.
I am honored to represent Kiribati at this commemoration of the International Day for the Total
Elimination of nuclear weapons. Kiribati will continue to strive forward and to join forces with
other like- minded countries, organizations and peoples until such time this noble mission is fully
Citizens on Kiritimati Island in Kiribati suffered from the impacts of nuclear weapon testing. On
the 28th of April 1958, Operation Grapple, the largest thermonuclear test in the world at the time,
was blasted. The 500 I-Kiribati living on Kiritimati received little protection and inadequate
warning. Unaware of the dangers of such tests, most of them lifted the tarpaulin cover provided
for them to catch a glimpse of the spectacular display of the intensely hot cloud of fire above them.
Many would later complain about all sorts of untreatable illnesses and health complications, most
of which resulted in death. Six cases of these kinds persist with descendants of those on the island
when tests were carried out.
As a nation affected by nuclear testing, Kiribati recognizes its leading role in coordinating jointly
with Kazakhstan the implementation of Articles 6 and 7 of the Treaty on the prohibition of nuclear
weapons with a focus on providing assistance for persons, communities and environments harmed
by past use and testing of nuclear weapons. As part of our commitment to accelerate the realization
of this noble dream for a world free of nuclear weapons, and from presence of discharged nuclear
waste material into our Blue Pacific Ocean affecting our lives and livelihood, our government is
offering Kiritimati Island to be a global or sub – global centre for the United Nations’
Kiribati calls on all leaders and peoples of the world to renew their commitments and to foster
greater cooperation and collaboration for the achievement of a nuclear free world, one free of wars,
and rich in human fraternity, respect, trust, peace, harmony and happiness as envisioned by the
founding fathers of our United Nations.
Let us recommit ourselves to the task of eliminating nuclear weapons by calling on the safe
dissemble of all nuclear weapons, remove all nuclear arsenals and re-direct their ‘nuclear’ profits
and growth towards peace and health building industries and activities. Let us put all our trust in
the mechanisms of the Pacific settlement of disputes as enshrined in Chapter VI of the UN Charter
turning war and aggression into outdated and obsolete means of settling disputes, no longer fit for
our modern and enlightened civilization.
I thank you.