Date which remains in our memory and when the world continues to ponder

CIS Council of Heads of State Address, dedicated to the 25th anniversary of the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power station

26th April, 2011, marks the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl tragedy — the largest technogenic and social catastrophe of the 20th century. It has been proclaimed International Day Commemorating Victims of Radiation Accidents and Catastrophes in CIS states. The consequences of the Chernobyl tragedy remain topical today and will do for future generations. Such catastrophes turn affected territories into crisis zones for many decades.

We remember the courage and self-sacrifice of hundreds of thousands of liquidators who dealt with the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power station, from all over the USSR. Risking their lives and health, they fulfilled their duty and prevented the further spread of dangerous radioactive emissions.

Despite adopted measures, the consequences of Chernobyl continue to negatively influence life in affected countries. Several million people remain under special medical care and major protective measures are still required in certain areas. Without them, it would be impossible to ensure the safety of those who reside within contaminated territories.

Radiation and socio-economic rehabilitation of contaminated territories, as well as the development of the social and economic potential of the affected areas, are among the most vital tasks in the wake of the catastrophe at the Chernobyl nuclear power station. Solutions require new approaches, grounded in science, and considerable resources, in addition to financial, scientific and technical assistance from the international community.

Definite steps have already been taken in this direction. The UN General Assembly has named this third decade after Chernobyl (2006-2016) as the Decade of Recovery and Sustainable Development of the Affected Regions. It aims to ensure that the suffering population returns to normal life: a corresponding UN plan of action is being implemented.

Pleasingly, the UN General Assembly has welcomed the decision of the CIS Council of Heads of State to proclaim April 26th as International Day Commemorating Victims of Radiation Accidents and Catastrophes in CIS states. It has proposed that UN member countries hold events to honour the memory of those who have fallen victim to radiation accidents and disasters.

This day honours the memory of those who died as a result of the Chernobyl catastrophe. Accordingly, we announce our determination to create the necessary conditions to ensure social protection for those who have helped deal with the accident at the nuclear power station.

We believe that co-operation and experience sharing, between state and public organisations, will enable us to overcome the consequences of this catastrophe. We call on the world community to continue liaising in this area while finding new paths of interaction, shifting to co-ordinated activity, which complements the major efforts of states to restore the suffering regions.

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