Hiroshima, Japan

06 August 2013

Secretary-General's message to Peace Memorial Ceremony [Delivered by Ms. Noeleen Heyzer, Executive Secretary, UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific]

I am honoured to pay my respects on this solemn occasion.

Tens of thousands have gathered here in Hiroshima, and millions more are observing this occasion around the world, as together we remember those who lost their lives here 68 years ago.

We pay tribute to the memory of the hundreds of thousands who perished or were gravely wounded.  At the same time, we applaud those who survived to become hibakusha.  We thank them for all they have done to educate the public, especially young people, about the horrors of nuclear war and the importance of nuclear disarmament. They have helped to transform this city from a scene of devastation into a symbol of peace.

We also join hands with the new generation of citizens of Hiroshima who are working to build an era of greater peace, security and justice for all.

We are united in countering the erroneous view that security is achieved through the pursuit of military dominance and threats of mutual annihilation.  Our memories are long.  We know this path is a dead end.

True security is based on people’s welfare – on a thriving economy, on strong public health and education programmes, and on fundamental respect for our common humanity.  Development, peace, disarmament, reconciliation and justice are not separate from security; they help to underpin it.

At this Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony, I appeal for universal adherence to the United Nations Charter, which emphasizes peace, disarmament, a prohibition on threats or use of force, and social and economic development.

Together, let us reaffirm our commitment to create a world free of nuclear weapons.  This is the most meaningful way we can pay our respects to those we honour today and pave the way for a better future for all.