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From Hiroshima, UN chief calls for global nuclear disarmament |




Nuclear weapons are stupid. Three quarters of a century later, we must ask what we have learned from the mushroom cloud that blew over this city in 1945, he asked during the solemn event at Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Park, attended by dozens of people, including hibakushayoung peace activists, the Japanese Prime Minister and other local authorities.

of Secretary General of the UN warned that a new arms race is gathering pace and world leaders are increasing stockpiles at a cost of hundreds of billions of dollars with almost 13,000 nuclear weapons currently held in arsenals around the world.

Crises with heavy nuclear undertones are spreading rapidly from the Middle East to the Korean peninsula, to the Russian occupation of Ukraine, he warned, humanity is playing with a loaded gun.

Hiroshima, shortly after a nuclear bomb was dropped on the city in August 1945.

UN photo/Mitsugu Kishida

Hiroshima, shortly after a nuclear bomb was dropped on the city in August 1945.

Signs of hope

Mr. Guterres called the current Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference in New York a sign of hope.

Today, from this sacred space, I appeal to the members of this Treaty to work urgently to eliminate the stocks that threaten our futureto strengthen dialogue, diplomacy and negotiations and to support my disarmament agenda by eliminating these means of destruction, he stressed.

He underlined that countries with nuclear weapons must commit to not using them first and to assure other states that they will not use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against them.

We must bear in mind the horrors of Hiroshima at all times, recognizing that there is only one solution to the nuclear threat: no nuclear weapons at all, the UN chief said.

Time to spread peace

Guterres emphasized that leaders cannot hide from their responsibilities.

Take the nuclear option off the table for good. It’s time to spread peace. Pay attention to the hibakusha’s message: No more Hiroshima! No more Nagasakis!, he said, acknowledging that in 1945, two atomic bombs were exploded over Japan, first on Hiroshima on August 6 and Nagasaki three days later on August 9.

Mr. Guterres also sent a message to the youth asking them to finish the work that the hibakusha started.

The world must never forget what happened here. The memory of those who died and the legacy of those who survived will never fadehe concluded.

The UN Secretary-General will be in Japan over the weekend, where he will meet with several senior Japanese officials, including Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

He will also meet a group of survivors of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and participate in a dialogue with young activists who are leading initiatives on nuclear disarmament, non-proliferation and other global issues.

The world must never forget

Later in the day, the Secretary-General met five surviving victims of the atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, known as Hibakusha, and heard their stories.

He expressed his admiration for them, acknowledging that they have suffered immensely but have overcome the trauma with great courage and resilience.

Mr Guterres also called them an example to the world and told the three women and two men reunited with him that they have the moral authority to tell leaders that nuclear weapons are senseless.

The UN is committed to keeping alive the memory of what happened and making sure your stories resonate forever, he said.

The hibakusha told the UN chief how they have remained engaged in peace and disarmament issues for most of their lives: for example, one of them wrote a song to raise awareness and another illustrated the experiences of her in the photo.

All expressed the wish that even young people understand the raw reality of nuclear weapons.

In Japan, Guterres had a meeting with hibakusha.

UN photos/Ichiro Mae

In Japan, Guterres had a meeting with hibakusha.

The Power of Youth from Hiroshima

Antnio Guterres was also part of an informal dialogue session with young Japanese activists currently leading initiatives on nuclear disarmament, non-proliferation and other global issues.

I would like to apologize on behalf of my generation for the state of the world we are leaving to your generation, he said, repeating an apology he has previously made to young people around the world.

He spoke about the current state of the world, including the triple planetary crisis, rampant inequality and widespread armed conflict.

Our generations must work together and then you will take the responsibilities, and you must be prepared and in very good shape, he told the young participants.

Honorary citizen

The UN chief also met with the mayor of Hiroshima and the vice mayor of Nagasaki and was given honorary Hiroshima citizenship.

I accept this great honor on behalf of all the women and men of the United Nations who are working for peace around the world. I accept it on behalf of diplomats and negotiators who are meeting this week in New York to stop the spread of nuclear weapons, he said.




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