On August 6th 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb over Hiroshima, indiscriminately killing tens of thousands of people, profoundly disrupting and altering the lives of the survivors.
Each year, the anniversaries of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (on August 9th) remind us of the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons and what is at stake in our work to eliminate these weapons of mass destruction.
This year, the anniversary takes place amid an increased risk of nuclear weapons use, and as states meet in New York to review the UN Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. There was a stark contrast between the powerful testimonies from Hibakusha and survivors of nuclear testing and the empty statements by nuclear weapon states who still fail to live up to promises to disarm.
Yelyzaveta Khodorovska, an 18-year-old from Ukraine representing ICAN called out nuclear weapons for what they are and spoke truth to power at the conference:
“Radiation knows no borders, and our globalized world knows no isolation from the socioeconomic catastrophe of even a limited nuclear conflict,” she said in a statement in the UN Friday afternoon, which you can watch in full here. “We know the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons too well: nuclear use brought tremendous suffering in Hiroshima and Nagasaki; the consequences of nuclear testing still haunt the people of Kazakhstan, the Marshall Islands, and elsewhere.”
Meanwhile, states parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) have taken real action to address the humanitarian legacy of nuclear weapons use and testing and take forward the Hibakusha’s demand for a nuclear-weapon-free world. In June, they adopted the Vienna Action Plan at the first Meeting of States Parties to the TPNW, a landmark 50-point blueprint to implement the treaty towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons. Hibakusha speaking at the UN this week appealed to Japan and all countries to join the TPNW.
The Hibakusha are integral to the history of the atomic bombings of these cities – not only because they are among the few true nuclear weapons experts to have experienced the actual impact of these weapons – but also because of the tireless efforts of many Hibakusha to eliminate nuclear weapons.
Will you mark this anniversary today? You can watch the stream (hosted by our partners Peace Boat and ANT-Hiroshima) from this morning’s moment of silence in Hiroshima, find a commemoration event taking place near you, or take a moment to stand in solidarity with the hibakusha, for a world free of nuclear weapons.
Policy and Research Coordinator
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