I am honoured to send greetings to all participants in this year’s Peace Memorial Ceremony in Hiroshima.
The atrocious bombing we remember today had as its original target the Aioi Bridge not far from this ceremony, according to historians. In the years since, the citizens of Hiroshima and supporters around the world have created many new kinds of bridges -- of trust, friendship and understanding.
This solemn commemoration connects memories of a tragic past with the vision of a future free of nuclear weapons. I am especially grateful to the hibakusha for forging links with the new generations who can carry forward the commitment to pursue nuclear disarmament until it is finally achieved. The United Nations is actively pursuing this goal.
Hiroshima’s many messages of peace and hope have educated the world about the devastating humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons, inspiring a global campaign focused on the unacceptability of using these arms under international humanitarian and human rights law. The hibakusha have been the face of that effort. Their testimonies have deeply touched me and countless other people.
One of the great ironies of modern science is that humans are searching for life on other planets while retaining and modernizing weapons of mass destruction that, if used, can destroy all life on planet Earth. We must address this failing and counter the militarism that breeds the pursuit of such weaponry.
The people of Hiroshima have a direct bridge to the United Nations, where nuclear disarmament remains one of our most important goals. The United Nations is an indispensable arena where Member States and civil society can work together to advance our vision of a world free of nuclear weapons.
Let us press for immediate and concrete progress so that the hibakusha and the world can witness the final destruction of the last nuclear weapon as we end the historical nightmare known as the age of nuclear weapons – and welcome the dawning of a new era of hope, peace, and prosperity for all.