Karipbek Kuyukov

September 20, 2013

Karipbek Kuyukov was born without arms, due the radiation exposure suffered by his mother who lived near a nuclear test site, but he hasn’t let the obstacles he faces limit his success. He became a successful accountant after studying abroad and has been heavily involved in the international anti-nuclear-weapons movement. In 1989, he was involved in the “Nevada-Semipalatinsk” anti-nuclear movement and traveled to Nevada, Germany, Japan and Turkey. He later won the Kurmet (Valor) Award for his involvement in that movement. Perhaps most extraordinarily, Karipbek is a renowned artist who paints using his legs and his mouth.

(Credit and photo: The Atom Project)

Mr Kuyukov delivered the following statement at the International Conference on the Humanitarian Consequences of Nuclear Weapons (“the Oslo conference”).

“Dear ladies and gentlemen, participants of the conference, I am immeasurably grateful to the organizers of this conference for giving me today the opportunity to tell you about the destiny of my country, which is eager to secure world peace through nuclear disarmament.

I was born in Kazakhstan, in a little village called Egindybulak, which is 100 km away from the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site. My parents, who unfortunately passed away, were witnesses of all what had happened on the test site. But today I can proudly say that my little unknown nation made a step which was beyond the strength of the Great Powers – we made the very first real
step, towards world nuclear disarmament. By the order of the President of Kazakhstan, Norsultan Nazarbayev, the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site, which sowed devastation throughout 40 years, was finally closed. If somebody thinks that this is how the nuclear weapon threat was eliminated, our answer to
them will be “NO!” […] We should mobilize the world community more than ever in order to denuclearize the world.

The world community should announce, as it was never announced before that they are against nuclear weapons and they are against nuclear war.
We, who suffered because of the nuclear testing, appeal to common sense, representing all atrocities and consequences of nuclear war until we have the opportunity to do that. If billions of people would understand the very meaning of nuclear weapons, the world community shall get enough spirit and power to get rid of the nuclear weapons forever […]

My call for a nuclear weapon free world is expressed in my paintings. I am telling the world that nuclear weapons are incompatible with human life. The nuclear arms race and the will to achieve world supremacy with nuclear weapons are growing. We should stop ourselves. In order to reach this goal we have to talk about what we have seen.

We should create and protect a peaceful world, where people could live without fear. But what we have now is a world divided into several parts by political ideology, we need a world where there would be no excuses for Hiroshima and Nagasaki or for Chernobyl or Semipalatinsk […]
We live now in a dangerous world, whether we like it or not. If we want to protect ourselves, we have to ban nuclear weapons.”

  • aiweiwei

    “Let’s act up! Ban nuclear weapons completely and unconditionally.”

    Ai Weiwei Artist and activist

  • sheen

    “If Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr were alive today, they would be part of ICAN.”

    Martin Sheen Actor and activist

  • bankimoon

    “I salute ICAN for working with such commitment and creativity.”

    Ban Ki-moon Former UN chief

  • yokoono

    “We can do it together. With your help, our voice will be made still stronger. Imagine peace.”

    Yoko Ono Artist

  • jodywilliams

    “Governments say a nuclear weapons ban is unlikely. Don’t believe it. They said the same about a mine ban treaty.”

    Jody Williams Nobel laureate

  • desmondtutu

    “With your support, we can take ICAN its full distance – all the way to zero nuclear weapons.”

    Desmond Tutu Nobel laureate

  • herbiehancock

    “Because I cannot tolerate these appalling weapons, I whole-heartedly support ICAN.”

    Herbie Hancock Jazz musician

  • dalailama

    “I can imagine a world without nuclear weapons, and I support ICAN.”

    Dalai Lama Nobel laureate