In a message commemorating the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today paid tribute to all those in the Japanese city and around the globe who are striving to rid the world of nuclear weapons.
“The people of this city carry a powerful message for the world: Nagasaki must be the last. We cannot allow any future use of nuclear weapons. Their humanitarian consequences are too great,” Mr. Ban said in the message, which was delivered to the Peace Memorial Ceremony in Nagasaki by Acting High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Kim Won-soo.
“I wholeheartedly join you in sounding a global rallying cry: No more Nagasakis. No more Hiroshimas,” he added, echoing the call he made in a message delivered on 6 August to a similar commemoration in Hiroshima.
Mr. Ban paid tribute to those working to achieve a safer world. “Your mayors and other elected officials, your civil society groups, your academics, your students and your citizens – led by the hibakusha [survivors] – have reached out to all corners of the world to unite the international community in pursuit of a world free of nuclear weapons.”
Recalling his visit to Hiroshima and Nagasaki five years ago, the Secretary-General saluted the hibakusha, who he said present “the human face of this man-made tragedy,” refusing to relent in advocating hope for a better future.
“As the average age of the hibakusha passes 80, I feel a growing sense of urgency to honour their legacy by finally ridding the world of nuclear weapons.
“My pledge five years ago to stand in solidarity with the citizens of Nagasaki will never waver. I am proactively working to realize our common goal. Seven decades is far too long for the world to have lived in the nuclear shadow.”
More than 200,000 people died of nuclear radiation, shock waves from the blasts and thermal radiation resulting from bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. 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.