18 September 2009

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

‘We Must Eliminate Nuclear Weapons’, Says Secretary-General, Urging


People Everywhere to Keep Pushing Governments to Make This Happen


Following are Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks at the Peace Bell ceremony, today, in New York:

This annual observance is a global call for ceasefire and non-violence.  It is a time to reflect on the horror and cost of war, and on our duty to resolve disputes peacefully.

On this International Day of Peace, I have one simple message:  We Must Disarm.

For the past 100 days, we have been campaigning for this goal.  The actor Rainn Wilson, who could not join us because he is filming, has been supporting this drive.  Almost every day, he sent another reason to disarm to his thousands of followers on Twitter.

People around the world responded to our campaign.  I want to share their messages.  This is just some of what they are saying about why We Must Disarm:

·         “because […] we have to focus on our future, not [nuclear] warfare.”

·         “because more people prosper in times of peace than in fearful and deadly times of war.”

·         because young people “deserve a fresh start in a safer world without nukes.”

·         because these weapons “are impractical, unacceptably risky and unworthy of civilization.”

·         “because nukes don’t differentiate between military targets and hospitals or playgrounds.”

·         “because billions are spent on a tool of self-destruction while many die of hunger.”

·         “because security is not achieved by force but by justice, law and respecting others.”

For three mornings next week, as world leaders gather for the United Nations annual debate, we will scroll these and other powerful messages we received on the big screens in the General Assembly Hall.  We want the world’s leaders to not only read them, but to understand that this is a deep yearning of people everywhere.

Citizen activists have a proven track record on disarmament.  Thanks to them ‑‑ and thanks to all of you ‑‑ we have international bans on landmines and cluster munitions.

Now we need to eliminate nuclear weapons.  I am counting on people everywhere to keep pushing Governments to make this happen.  That is the best way to give meaning to this International Day of Peace. We must disarm.  We must have peace.

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For information media • not an official record