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UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres met the survivors of Nagasaki, the Hibakusha, in Japan.

Shown here is UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres during his visit to Nagasaki, Japan, as he toured Urakami Cathedral. The Secretary-General met with Archbishop Joseph Takami Mitsuaki, as well as atomic bomb survivors . UN Photo/Daniel Powell.

For the very first time in the history of the United Nations, a UN Secretary-General, namely, Antonio Guterres, traveled to Nagaski, Japan, to commemorate the women, men and children killed by the nuclear attack on Nagasaki on August 9, 1945.

During his remarks at the Peace Memorial Ceremony he stated,”I convey my deepest respect and condolences to everyone here today, and to all the victims and survivors of the atomic bombs.” The UN Secretary General added, “it is a great personal pleasure to be here in Nagasaki. My country, Portugal, has deep political cultural and religious ties with this city, going back nearly five centuries.”

In addition, as Antonio Guterres pointed out, “Nagasaki is not just an international city with a long and fascinating history. It is a global inspiration for all those who seek to create a safer and more secure world.”

The UN Secretary General went on to say, “this city, your city, is a beacon of hope and strength. and a monument to the resilience of its people. The atomic bomb that killed and injured tens of thousands of people in the immediate aftermath of the blast and in the years and decades that followed, could not crush your spirit.”

During his visit to Nagasaki, he had seen several survivors. As the UN Secretary-General put it, “I was deeply humbled and deeply impressed by the hibakusha – by their courage, by their capacity to stand up, to rebulld their lives. And when one comes today to Nagasaki, there is an enormous admiration for  the people of Nagasaki for their enormous resilience to build a vibrant community that is the city of today, built over the ashes of an atomic bomb.”

In conclusion, Antonio Guterres said that “the clear message that we call can extract from what we see is that it is a moral duty of everybody in the world to do everything to make sure that Nagasaki will not happen anymore, anywhere. That no atomic bomb will ever be used.”

He also stated, “and that we commit ourselves to a strong push for non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and effective disarmament to make sure that we will reach the objective that I believe should be a central objective of humankind, a world free of nuclear weapons. And I think nobody that sees this museum and sees this memorial can tolerate the idea that you will not be able to make our world one day be free of
nuclear weapons.”

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres meets with Nagasaki atomic bomb survivors (Habukusha) on 08 August 2018 in Nagasaki, Japan

Ann Charles
Ann Charles is UN Bureau Chief of "Baltic Review" based in New York City. She covers diplomatic activities at United Nations Headquarters in New York and the world body's work in human rights, education, culture, the environment, and tourism, among other global concerns.

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