Heroshima Peace Memorial - Photo credit UNESCO
CAIRO – 7 August 2017: On the 72nd annual memorial for the victims of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan by the U.S. on August 6, 1945, the United Nations Secretary General (UN-SG), António Guterres, on Sunday urged all States to intensify their efforts to pursuit a nuclear-weapons-free world.
Guterres, who pledged to make 2017 a year for peace when he was appointed, said in his message marking the memorial, “Our dream of a world free of nuclear weapons remains far from reality.”
He added, “The states possessing nuclear weapons have a special responsibility to undertake concrete and irreversible steps in nuclear disarmament.”
Guterres praised the people of Japan and for their resilience and hope, and described Hiroshima as a reminder to the world of the devastating humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons.
The annual ceremony at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, Japan was attended by about 50,000 people, including representatives from 80 nations, according to The Japan Times. The Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, called for global cooperation to end nuclear weapons. Abe said, “For us to truly realize a world without nuclear weapons, the participation of both nuclear weapon states and non-nuclear weapon states is necessary."
On a positive note, he highlighted a major development in 2017, in particular the July 2017 adoption of the treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons by UN Member States. He expressed the UN support for all global efforts towards a world free of nuclear weapons.
In July, UN state members adopted a Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The treaty is the first multilateral legally-binding instrument for nuclear disarmament to have been negotiated in 20 years. While this was a major development in 2017, Japan, the most affected country of nuclear weapons, along with the nine nuclear-armed nations, including the U.S., refused to take part in the negotiations and the vote on the nuclear weapons banning treaty.
On August 6, 1945, during the final stage of the World War II, the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima city killed an estimated 140,000 people. Three days later, the U.S. dropped a second bomb on the city of Nagasaki, killing an estimated 75,000. In the weeks following the bombs drop, Japan surrendered.