Hiroshima, Japan

06 August 2012

Secretary-General's message to Peace Memorial Ceremony [delivered by Angela Kane, High Representative for Disarmament Affairs]

Each year on the sixth of August, people throughout the world turn their thoughts to the city of Hiroshima.

They think about the implications of the human catastrophe that occurred here
in 1945.

They remember the tens of thousands of civilians who perished on that fateful day.

They contemplate the incredible hardships endured by the survivors, their families, and generations to follow.

Yet this day on which we reflect on a tragic past is also time to recognize what the citizens here have accomplished in rebuilding their great city. 

Hiroshima has become rich with the comforts of modern life.  It also has a wealth of wisdom to share with all nations about the vital need for nuclear disarmament.

For many decades, your mayors and concerned citizens have shared your legacy and appealed for urgent measures to outlaw all nuclear weapons.

Your message is being heard.  I am very pleased that the testimonies of many hibakusha are being translated into several languages.  In support of these efforts, the United Nations has just launched a multimedia website of hibakusha telling their stories. It is very important that these words be heard and understood in all countries, especially by the younger generation.

The United Nations Secretariat has also sponsored international “Art for Peace” and “Poetry for Peace” contests, challenging young people everywhere to imagine a world free of nuclear weapons.  In many ways, our collective future rests on their understanding and support for this goal.

On this day, in this city, let me proclaim again: there must never be another nuclear attack – never.

The elimination of such weapons is not just a visionary goal, but the most reliable way to prevent their future use.

People understand that nuclear weapons cannot be used without indiscriminate effects on civilian populations.

Security experts and defence analysts have come to understand that nuclear weapons, far from ensuring a balance of power, are inherently destabilizing.

Such weapons have no legitimate place in our world.  Their elimination is both morally right and a practical necessity in protecting humanity.

The more countries view nuclear weapons as unacceptable and illegitimate, the easier it will be to solve related problems such as proliferation or their acquisition and use by terrorists.

This is why I have supported efforts to negotiate a nuclear weapons convention, or a framework of instruments with the same purpose of eliminating such weapons.

The tragedy in Hiroshima decades ago continues to resonate today.  In remembering those lost, in recognizing the hibakusha, and in considering the legacy we will leave to future generations, I urge all here today to continue your noble work for a nuclear-weapon-free world.  I am proud to be your partner in this great cause.