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Text of message by UN Secretary-General at 2021 Nagasaki Peace Memorial Ceremony

This file photo taken on Aug. 23, 2019 shows United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres (Mainichi/Toshiyuki Sumi)

The following is the text of United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres' message prepared for the Nagasaki Peace Memorial Ceremony on Aug. 9, 2021, delivered by U.N. Under Secretary-General and United Nations High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Izumi Nakamitsu.


    It is an honour to send this message to the Nagasaki Peace Memorial, seventy-six years after an atomic bomb unleashed a catastrophe in this vibrant city.

    I continue to be humbled by the selfless acts of the hibakusha. Your courage in the face of immense human tragedy is a beacon of hope for humanity.

    Thank you for continuing to spread your powerful testimony.

    Your efforts have helped to build a powerful global movement against nuclear arms, based on the knowledge that a single blinding explosion can produce incalculable suffering that echoes down the generations.

    I reaffirm the full support of the United Nations to ensuring that your voices are heard by the world's people, and especially by younger generations.

    To the people of Nagasaki: You have built a cultural metropolis out of the ashes of nuclear war. Your dynamic city exemplifies modernity and progress, while you work diligently to prevent nuclear devastation from ever befalling another city.

    More than three quarters of a century after the destruction of Nagasaki, we continue to dwell in the shadow of the mushroom cloud. Prospects for the use of nuclear weapon are as dangerous as at any time since the height of the Cold War.

    States are racing to create more powerful weapons, and broadening the potential scenarios for their use. Warlike rhetoric is turned up to maximum volume while dialogue is on mute.

    Two recent developments are cause for hope. I welcome the reaffirmation by the United States and the Russian Federation that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought, and their commitment to engage in arms control dialogue.

    And I congratulate the parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons on that instrument's entry into force. The Treaty represents the legitimate fears of many States about the existential danger posed by nuclear weapons.

    I hope these developments herald a turning point. I call on all parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to use the forthcoming Tenth Review Conference to reinforce the norm against nuclear weapons and take steps toward their elimination.

    The United Nations was created to prevent the scourge of war. In fulfilment of that goal, it is incumbent upon all Member States to seek the abolition of the most deadly weapons ever created.

    Together, we must prevent the tragedy of what happened here on 9 August 1945 from ever occurring again.

    Thank you.

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