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Message from UN Secretary-General on 77th anniversary of Nagasaki atomic bombing

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

The following is the full text of a message from U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, delivered on the 77th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, on Aug. 9, 2022, by U.N. Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Izumi Nakamitsu.

    --

    It is an honor to send this message to the people of Nagasaki.

    On this day four years ago, I had the privilege of visiting the hallowed ground of your city.

    I was humbled by the sheer devastation caused by a single weapon of mass destruction. I was forcefully reminded that this can never happen again.

    And I was inspired by the courage of the hibakusha, who continue their brave crusade, despite their unimaginable losses.

    Their message of peace and nuclear disarmament is as powerful and relevant as ever. I pledge to do everything in my power to make sure it continues to be heard, everywhere.

    The use of nuclear weapons against Hiroshima and Nagasaki caused a humanitarian catastrophe unique in history.

    It heralded the dawn of a new era in which humanity could bring about its own extinction.

    Since then, for 77 years, the threat of nuclear devastation has haunted humanity.

    Today, the prospect of nuclear conflict has been brought back into the realm of possibility.

    The Russian invasion of Ukraine reminds us that we are, at any time, just minutes from possible annihilation.

    Meanwhile, dangerous rhetoric and nuclear threats demonstrate that these are weapons of brinkmanship and coercion.

    And once again, we hear false claims that nuclear weapons provide security.

    True security can never be achieved through nuclear weapons. It is achieved through dialogue, negotiation, mutual respect, and commitment to international law.

    True security means ending the nuclear threat, through a world free of nuclear weapons.

    Many states have demonstrated their support for nuclear disarmament, by signing and ratifying the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

    But as a global community, we need to reinforce the taboo against the use of nuclear weapons; lower the global numbers of nuclear weapons; and take urgent steps to reduce the risk of nuclear cataclysm.

    The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons is the bedrock of the nuclear disarmament regime.

    I urge the parties to the treaty, currently meeting in New York, to take the opportunity to set the world back on the path to sanity.

    In these times of high tensions and low levels of trust, we should draw on the lessons of Nagasaki.

    Disarmament, reconciliation and the pursuit of peace are the only way forward -- for all our sakes.

    Thank you.

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