Hiroshima anniversary time to renew commitment to disarm – top UN officials

Hiroshima Peace Memorial

6 August 2009 – The 64th anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima serves not only as a reminder of the destruction wrought by nuclear weapons but as a time to renew the global commitment to rid the world of this deadly scourge, top United Nations officials said today.

Some say the goal of a world free of nuclear weapons is impossible, and that security can be achieved only by acquiring nuclear weapons, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony held in Japan.

“Yet we are witnessing today a cascade of new and powerful ideas for security through the elimination of nuclear weapons,” he said in a message, delivered by UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Sergio Duarte. “All the nuclear-weapon States officially support this goal.”

The Secretary-General called on all humanity to support the “sensible and achievable” goal of building a world free from the threat of nuclear weapons. “Let us each do our part in this common journey – and thereby ensure that there will be no more victims such as those we honour today.”

Last October Mr. Ban launched a five-point plan to achieve the goal of a nuclear-weapon-free world, which contains practical steps the international community can take. More recently, he launched the “WMD-WeMustDisarm” multimedia campaign, kicking off a 100-day countdown to next month’s observance of the International Day of Peace, which this year focuses on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.

Also speaking at today’s ceremony, General Assembly President Miguel D’Escoto said that 64 years later, the “gruesome reality” of atomic destruction has lost none of its power to inspire grief and terror – and righteous anger.

“We cannot, have not, and will not succeed in eliminating the danger of nuclear weapons being used again, unless and until we have eliminated nuclear weapons from the face of the earth and until we have placed the capacity for making those weapons under reliable and lasting international control,” he said.

“I understand that this is a tall order, full of technical and political complexities,” he added. “Yet, if we are to keep faith with the victims and survivors of the first nuclear terror, we must resolve, here and now, to take convincing action to begin working toward the explicit goal of complete nuclear disarmament.”

The anniversary of the 1945 nuclear attacks on Hiroshima (6 August) and Nagasaki (9 August) was also marked by the UN Conference on Disarmament – the world’s sole multilateral forum for disarmament negotiations – which is currently meeting in Geneva.

The President of the Conference, Ambassador Caroline Millar of Australia, drew attention to the fact that today was a sober reminder to all of the destruction and devastation of nuclear weapons and of the compelling importance of the Conference resuming its work on nuclear disarmament.


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