United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today renewed his resolve to advance the goal of achieving a world “free of the nuclear shadow,” in a message to mark the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing of the Japanese city of Hiroshima.
“Seven decades after their first use in conflict, this sombre occasion commemorates the tens of thousands who died that day. It honours the survivors who have suffered severe adversity in the aftermath. The United Nations stands with them, resolved to realize their vision of a nuclear-weapon-free world,” said Mr. Ban.
“Your commemoration should reverberate from this city across the world, reminding all people of the need for urgent action to eliminate nuclear weapons once and for all,” he added in the message to the Peace Memorial Ceremony, delivered by Acting High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Kim Won-soo.
More than 200,000 people died of nuclear radiation, shock waves from the blasts and thermal radiation resulting from bombing of Hiroshima on 6 August 1945 and of Nagasaki three days later. Additionally, over 400,000 more people have died – and are continuing to die – since the end of the Second World War from the impacts of the two bombs.
Mr. Ban recalled his visit to Hiroshima five years ago, saying he will always carry the memories of meeting the survivors, witnessing the destruction and seeing the lingering effects.
“The courage of those who lived through this catastrophic, man-made tragedy was deeply inspiring. The hibakusha are more than survivors – they are unparalleled champions of peace. From their searing experiences, they have forged a message of hope that someday the world will be free of these indiscriminate and destabilizing weapons,” he stated.
“I pay tribute to the bravery of the hibakusha and renew my resolve to advance our common cause of achieving a safer and more peaceful world, free of the nuclear shadow.”
Noting that this year also marks the 70th anniversary of the UN, the Secretary-General recalled that the first resolution adopted by the General Assembly reflected the world’s concern about the use of atomic weapons.
“As you keep the memory of the bombing alive, so, too, must the international community persist until we have ensured that nuclear weapons are eliminated,” he stated.
“I echo your rallying cry: No more Hiroshimas. No more Nagasakis.”