24 February 2011

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

Secretary-Generalís Message to Signature Campaign for Atomic Weapons Ban


Stresses Importance of Citizensí Voices in Maintaining Recent Momentum


(Delayed in transmission.)

Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moonís message to meetings organized by the Japan Council against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs in Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Tokyo to launch a signature campaign for the start of negotiations for a convention banning nuclear weapons, on 15 February:

I am pleased to greet all those gathered in Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Tokyo to launch a new campaign calling for the start of negotiations for a convention banning nuclear weapons.† I fully support your efforts.

The history of multilateral disarmament shows the importance of citizens raising their voices to demand action by Governments.† Your campaign is especially timely given recent significant developments, including the entry into force of the new START Treaty between the Russian Federation and the United States and the successful outcome of the 2010 Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.† We must all build on this momentum.

Last August, I attended the Peace Memorial Ceremony commemorating the sixty-fifth anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.† That visit was among the most moving and memorable experiences of my life.† I was humbled and inspired by the courage and fortitude of the many hibakusha I met in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.† Hearing their experiences strengthened my conviction that we must do everything in our power to rid the world of nuclear weapons.† As long as nuclear weapons exist, the threat exists.† If we want to get rid of the threat, we need to get rid of the weapons.

In October 2008, I put forward a five-point proposal on nuclear disarmament, offering a practical approach to the elimination of nuclear weapons, including support for the idea of a nuclear weapons convention.† I am heartened that at their recent summit in Hiroshima, Nobel Peace Laureates expressed strong support for this idea.

I hope people everywhere will sign your petition, thereby adding their voice to the rising chorus calling for the start of negotiations.† One day, we will rid the world of nuclear weapons.† And when we do, it will be because of people like you.

I wish you a most successful campaign.

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For information media • not an official record