In Hiroshima, General Assembly President pays tribute to atomic bomb victims

28 October 2010

General Assembly President Joseph Deiss today laid a wreath in Hiroshima to honour the memory of the more than 100,000 people who died in the atomic bomb blast 65 years ago.

While in the Japanese city, Mr. Deiss also visited the Hiroshima Peace Memorial and the Atomic Bomb Dome, and met with survivors of the blasts.

The atomic bombs that fell on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945 resulted in the deaths of more than 200,000 people. More than 400,000 people have died – and are continuing to die – since the end of the Second World War from the impacts of those bombs.

The Assembly President, who today also had dinner with the Mayors of the two cities, sought to send a strong message in support of disarmament and a nuclear-weapon-free world during his Hiroshima visit.

Tomorrow, he will give a lecture at the United Nations University (UNU) in Tokyo, where he will also meet with the UN Country Team and hold a press conference.

Mr. Deiss’ visit to Japan has also taken him to Nagoya, where yesterday he addressed the start of the high-level segment of the 10th conference of parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and met with Prime Minister Naoto Kan.

On 6 August, Ban Ki-moon became the first UN Secretary-General to take part in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony held annually on the anniversary of the bombing.

“A more peaceful world can be ours,” he had stated in remarks at the event, underlining that the time has come to realize the dream of a world free of nuclear weapons.

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On the wings of paper cranes, UN staffers aim to spread message of peace

In 1955, 12-year-old Sadako Sasaki began folding a thousand paper cranes to try to heal her leukaemia, in accordance with a Japanese tradition. Despite surviving the bombing of Hiroshima a decade earlier, she had developed the “atom bomb disease.” Over half a century later, United Nations staff members hope to harness that same spirit to remind the world of the horrors wrought by nuclear weapons.