Hiroshima Peace Memorial (Genbaku Dome). Photo: UNESCO/G. Boccardi
Hiroshima Peace Memorial (Genbaku Dome). Photo: UNESCO/G. Boccardi

Aug. 6, 2016 – With global tensions rising and progress on nuclear disarmament hard to find, “the world needs the Hibakusha spirit more than ever,” United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today, citing the determination and perseverance of those survivors of the 1945 Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bomb attacks as an example for championing peace and a seeking a better future for all.

In a message delivered to the Peace Memorial Ceremony in Hiroshima, Japan, by Kim Won-soo, UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, the Secretary-General commended the solemn gathering to remember the victims of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, the first use of nuclear weapons in war.

Recalling his 2010 visit to Hiroshima taking part in the Ceremony, Mr. Ban said he had been moved and inspired by the determination of the survivors to ensure that such a tragedy would never happen again. That visit, noted the Secretary-General, reinforced his resolve to advance the efforts of the UN to work for a world free of nuclear weapons.

“In Hiroshima, I saw a memorial to tragedy, but also a city of resilience and hope. The people of Hiroshima are striving to be defined not by the city that was destroyed, but by the world they are seeking to build. That spirit is exemplified in the Hibakusha,” the UN chief stressed in his message.

Indeed, the Hibakusha have turned their tragedy into a rallying cry for humanity, he continued, noting that they have shared their stories so the horror experienced by Hiroshima will never be forgotten.

“They have become true champions of peace and a better world,” he said, underscoring that this is the very spirit that is needed now, in a world where tensions are rising and progress on nuclear disarmament is hard to find.

“At this sober memorial, I ask all States to heed the message of the Hibakusha and overcome their differences to galvanize global will for disarmament. This is essential to peaceful cooperation,” said Mr. Ban, explaining that those States with nuclear weapons have a special responsibility to prevent another Hiroshima.

They must honour their commitments and lead the way to dialogue, and he called on all States to find common ground through inclusive dialogue.

He went on to stress that the bombing of Hiroshima shows that nuclear weapons do not discriminate between gender, age, religion, ideology or nationality. “Let us keep striving together for a safer and more secure future and a better world for all. You can count on me to continue spreading your message: No more Hiroshimas. No more Nagasakis. Never again,” he concluded.