On 8 August 2017, the NGO Committee on Peace in Vienna and the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs organized a commemorative event for the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings. The event was held at the Vienna International Centre and was dedicated to the victims and survivors of these bombings which took place 72 years ago.
Opening remarks were made by Yuko Gulda, Founder of Genbaku No Hi. The event also saw presentations by Ichitomo Taninai, Counsellor, Permanent Mission of Japan to International Organizations in Vienna; Franz Josef Kuglitsch, Director for Disarmament, Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, Federal Ministry Foreign Affairs for Austria; Klaus Renoldner, Chair, NGO Committee on Peace in Vienna; Matthias Gruber, Counsellor, Permanent Mission of Germany to the United Nations in Vienna; and Ismail Balla, Chief of the Vienna Office of UNODA. Speakers asserted that it is a moral obligation to commemorate the victims and to honour the survivors who are still suffering from the long-term effects of the bombings, as well as to remind us of the devastating consequences of such weapons. Some speakers referred to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons as an essential step towards ridding the world of the nuclear threat and towards achieving a world free of nuclear weapons.
The United Nations Vienna Choir gave a poignant performance. The participants enjoyed a breakdance performance by the Vienna Dance Centre in the Memorial Plaza. The ceremony was immersed in Japanese culture. This was reflected in the folding of paper cranes, a symbol of world peace. The solemn ringing of the Peace Bell reminded attendees of the events of the past and underscored the hope in a peaceful future.