UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres delivers message on Hiroshima anniversary

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UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres delivers message on Hiroshima anniversary

The following is a full text of a message from U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, delivered on August 6, 2022, the 77th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.

Thank you for the honor of inviting me today.

In the blink of an eye, tens of thousands of people were killed in this city seventy-seven years ago.

In a hellish fire, women, children and men were incinerated.

And marked by telltale scars on their bodies -- the stigma of surviving the most destructive attack in human history.

The unflinching testimonies of the hibakusha remind us of the fundamental folly of nuclear weapons.

Three-quarters of a century later, we have to ask what we've learned from the mushroom cloud that swelled above the city in 1945.

Or from the Cold War and the terrifying near-misses that placed humanity within minutes of annihilation.

Or from the promise of decades of arsenal reductions and widespread acceptance of the principles against the use, proliferation and testing of nuclear weapons.

A new arms race is picking up speed.

World leaders are enhancing stockpiles at a cost of hundreds of billions of dollars each year.

There are more than 13,000 nuclear weapons in arsenals around the world.

Crimes with grave nuclear undertones are spreading fast - from the Middle East to the Korean Peninsula to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

It is unacceptable for states in possession of nuclear weapons to admit the possibility of nuclear war.

There are signs of hope.

In June, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons met for the first time to develop a roadmap for a world free of these doomsday weapons.

The Tenth Review Conference on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons takes place in New York right now.

Today, from this sacred space, I call for the members of the Treaty to work urgently to remove the stockpiles that threaten our future.

I want to support my disarmament agenda by eliminating these devices of destruction.

Countries with nuclear weapons must commit to the 'no first use' of those weapons. They must assure states who do not have nuclear weapons that they will not use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against them. They must be transparent throughout.

We need to keep the horrors of Hiroshima in view at all times, and recognize that there is only one solution to the nuclear threat: not to have nuclear weapons at all.

At the height of the Cold War, schoolchildren learned to hide under desks.

Leaders can't hide their responsibilities.

My message to them is simple:

And to the young people here today: Finish the work that the hibakusha have begun.

The memory of those who died and the legacy of those who survived will never be extinguished.