Nagasaki, Japan

9 August 2012

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

Two years ago, I had the honour to be the first United Nations Secretary-General to visit Nagasaki and to pay my respects to all who perished here after the atomic bombing in 1945.

Today, I am with you in spirit and am proud to join in commemorating that historic day. 

Though the scale of the tragedy was beyond all comprehension, you have not only reconstructed your city but are also pursuing a larger ambition.  You are determined to ensure that Nagasaki will forever remain the last victim of such weapons.  You, your mayors, other local officials, and hibakusha know that such an attack must never occur again – anywhere.

I commend your leadership and determination in laying a strong foundation for achieving this goal.  The "Global Forum on Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Education", which will soon open here, is a concrete expression of this commitment.  Organized by Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the United Nations University in cooperation with Nagasaki City and Nagasaki University, the Forum will show how knowledge, education and awareness can lead the way to a world free of nuclear weapons and threats related to their existence.

You have also promoted disarmament through the Mayors for Peace initiative, which has now gained the support of officials from over 5,000 cities worldwide.  I am also grateful for your efforts on behalf of my five-point nuclear disarmament proposal.

You, the citizens of Nagasaki, have clearly become citizens of the world.

And the entire international community is recognizing that the humanitarian impact of the use of nuclear weapons cannot be reconciled with the laws of war and basic morality.

The implication is clear: the most effective way to prevent any future use of such weapons is to eliminate them.  We cannot indefinitely base international peace and security – and the future of human life on this planet – on the cynical doctrine of nuclear deterrence.   We cannot, on the one hand, praise nuclear weapons as the ultimate guarantee of security while simultaneously stressing the need to prevent their spread.

Disarmament solves this contradiction.  Progress in disarmament is therefore not just a desirable long-term goal, but an imperative worthy of universal support.

Let us all move forward together and achieve a nuclear-weapon-free world.  You can count on my support.