In Hiroshima, UN chief calls for global disarmament

During his remarks during an event marked by the 77th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres underscored the fact that it is entirely unacceptable for states possessing nuclear weapons to acknowledge the possibility of a nuclear war.

In Hiroshima, UN chief calls for global disarmament
Atomic bomb dome in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, Japan

“Nuclear weapons are nonsense. Three-quarters of a century later, we must ask what we’ve learned from the mushroom cloud that swelled above this city in 1945”, he urged during the solemn event at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park attended by dozens of people, including Hibakusha, young peace activists, Japan’s Prime Minister and other local authorities.

World leaders are increasing nuclear weapons stockpiles at a cost of hundreds of billions of dollars, as almost 13,000 nuclear weapons are currently held in global arsenals, according to the UN Secretary-General. “Crises with grave nuclear undertones are spreading fast Humanity is playing with a loaded gun,” he said. Guterres called the current Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons in New York a sign of hope.

“Today, from this sacred space, I call on this Treaty’s members to work urgently to eliminate the stockpiles that threaten our future, to strengthen dialogue, diplomacy and negotiation, and to support my disarmament agenda by eliminating these devices of destruction,” he declared. Nuclear-armed states should ensure that they do not use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against other states, and commit to no first use of their weapons. “We must keep the horrors of Hiroshima in view at all times, recognizing there is only one solution to the nuclear threat: not to have nuclear weapons at all,” the UN chief stated. It is critical for leaders to take responsibility for their actions, Guterres said.

“The world must never forget what happened in Hiroshima. The memory of those who died and the legacy of those who survived will never be extinguished,” he concluded. During this weekend’s trip, the UN Secretary-General will meet with several Japanese senior officials, including Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. As part of this trip, he will also meet survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki’s atomic bomb attacks, as well as participate in a dialogue with young activists who are leading initiatives on nuclear disarmament, non-proliferation and other global issues.