The UK and Ireland Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) welcome the many live and online events held by NFLA and Mayors for Peace members in the UK and Ireland, and across the world, to commemorate the 76th anniversary of the atomic weapon attacks on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
On the 6th and the 9th August 1945, atomic weapons were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing over 200,000 people instantly or within a few months (due to radiation exposure) of the attacks.
In Hiroshima and Nagasaki annual peace ceremonies are held to remember those who were killed and affected by the two attacks. These rebuilt cities of peace also lead the global Mayors for Peace organisation to seek to ensure no other town or city ever face what happened to them.
Both the Mayors of Hiroshima (1) and Nagasaki (2) issued powerful peace declarations at their 2021 Peace Memorial Ceremonies. They both welcomed the creation of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) earlier this year, and they called on the Japanese Government and all states to both engage with this process as well as with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). In 2022, both treaties will be reviewed at the United Nations.
Across the world, events were held in solidarity with Hiroshima and Nagasaki, including a number of prominent events across the UK and Ireland.
Some of these events included:
- In Manchester, the Lord Mayor of Manchester, a Vice President of Mayors for Peace, laid a wreath at an event held at Manchester University. A special online page was also placed on the Council’s website. (3)
- In Dublin, the Deputy Lord Mayor of Dublin joined with the Japanese Ambassador to Ireland, representatives from the Disarmament Section of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Irish Government, and members of CND Ireland for a special event in Merrion Square. The event was the first anniversary of Ireland formally ratifying the TPNW.
- In Leeds, the Lord Mayor of Leeds, the Deputy Leader of Leeds City Council, the NFLA Steering Committee Chair and the Chair of Yorkshire CND held a commemoration event reading out the Hiroshima and Nagasaki Peace Declarations. At the event, a new gingko tree commemorating Leeds City Council’s resolution to support the TPNW was also unveiled.
- In Bradford, the Deputy Lord Mayor was one of the speakers at a special commemoration event held behind Bradford City Hall.
- In London, events were held in Tavistock Square including the Mayor of Camden, and in Stratford, where a camellia seed taken from the Yoshijima Inari shrine was handed from the CND National Chair Kate Hudson to the Mayor of Newham, Rokhsana Fiaz. (4)
- Across Scotland, many events were held. Perhaps most notable is a wonderful peace crane exhibition held in the Edinburgh Peace and Justice Centre at St John’s Church from the 6th – 28th The ‘Peace Cranes’ exhibition is a monumental installation by Scottish artist Janis Hart. It features 140,000 origami paper cranes folded by people from across the UK, France, Canada, New Zealand and Japan over the last five years. (5)
- Lots of other events, large and small, took place across England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales.
The Mayors for Peace, who NFLA closely cooperate with, have recently held their Executive Conference and agreed a new vision document for lobbying for a world free from nuclear weapons and to develop safer, resilient and more peaceful cities. Commenting on this new vision, Alexander Kmentt, President-designate of the first TPNW States Parties Conference held in early 2022, said:
“I am very impressed by this new approach by Mayors for Peace and by the Action Plan, which aims to turn this into reality. The formulated objectives ‘to realize “a world without nuclear weapons’, ‘safe and resilient cities’, and to ‘promote a culture of peace’ are pertinent and particularly urgent today. This approach is also entirely consistent with what States Parties of the TPNW want to achieve with this new treaty. I am therefore also delighted that Mayors for Peace will also work towards the universalisation of the TPNW.” (6)
NFLA UK & Ireland Steering Committee Chair Councillor David Blackburn said:
“I am delighted to see so many live and online events took place for the 76th anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic weapon attacks, despite the challenges that the Covid-19 pandemic create for all of us. We remember all those who died or suffered in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as well as all those millions of innocent civilians who have died in wars or terrorist attacks to the present day. We will continue to work with the cities and Mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the Mayors for Peace, through its newly created European Chapter, to work for a world free of nuclear weapons, more peaceful cities and a culture of peace across the UK and Ireland.”
Ends – for more information please contact Sean Morris, NFLA Secretary, on 07771 930196.
Notes to Editors:
(1) Hiroshima Peace Declaration, 6th August 2021
(2) Nagasaki Peace Declaration, Kyodo News, 9th August 2021
(3) Manchester remembers the 76th anniversary of the atomic weapon attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, 6th August 2021
(4) Selected photos from these local events will be placed on the NFLA website.
(5) Edinburgh Peace and Justice Peace Centre, Peace Cranes exhibition, 6th – 28th August 2021
(6) Letter to the Mayors for Peace Secretariat from Alexander Kmentt, July 27th 2021