Vienna Commemoration of Hiroshima and
Nagasaki Bombings

65th Anniversary event at the Vienna International Centre

Efforts to move away from the danger of nuclear annihilation must be redoubled, Tibor Tóth, Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) told a commemorative ceremony in Vienna marking the 65th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

“The onus is on each and every country to do its part and deal with its outstanding issues, regardless of what others do or don’t. Countries need to lead, not to be led,” he told the commemoration in the Vienna International Centre, 9 August, 2010. The event was jointly organzed by UNIS Vienna and the NGO Committee on Peace.

Tóth said he welcomed the commitment at the NPT Review Conference in May in New York made by 190 countries to a world free of nuclear weapons, and urged States to translate the commitment into concrete action.

“This is the only safeguard for our children and grandchildren to live in peace and prosperity. We cannot afford to fail another time.” He said that one crucial and concrete measure that should be acted on now is to bring the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) into force.

Four years ago when he first became head of the test ban treaty organization Tóth said he had attended the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony. “I came away a different man than the one I had been when I arrived.”

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addressing the Peace Memorial Ceremony in Hiroshima, 6 August, said the world is on a journey from ground zero to global zero – a world free of nuclear weapons. He stressed that political momentum must be built to move States toward action on disarmament.

He announced that a high-level meeting will be convened in New York in September in support of the work of the Conference on Disarmament. The meeting will also push for entry-into-force of the CTBT. “Now is the time – the time for rapid entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty,” Ban said.

CTBTO Executive Secretary, Tibor Tóth Photo Credit: Dean Calma/IAEA

Ban Ki-moon became the first U.N. Secretary-General to attend the ceremony in Hiroshima. Senior officials of the United States, Britain and France also attended the ceremony for the first time.

After returning from the Hiroshima Conference for the Total Abolition of Nuclear Weapons by 2020 , 27-29 July, CTBTO Spokesperson Annika Thunborg described her strong impression of the horrific effects of nuclear weapons. “Everyone should go to Hiroshima or Nagasaki at least once in their lifetime because it’s only by going there and by being there that one can start to imagine the horrors inflicted by nuclear weapons,” she said.

500 Peace Balloons Photo Credit: Dean Calma/IAEA