UK & Ireland Mayors, Provosts & Leaders for Peace Chapter – MEDIA RELEASE
The cross-national chapter of the Mayors for Peace movement
August 6th and August 9th 2016 marks the 71st anniversary of the catastrophic atomic bomb attacks on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. As major events are held in each city to commemorate these events and call for a more peaceful world, they will be replicated by similar events of solidarity by Mayors for Peace members across the world. (1)
The Mayors for Peace organisation was established by the Mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1982. They now include 7,114 members in 161 countries representing over a billion people. They call for a nuclear weapons free and more peaceful world. Since 2001, Manchester has been a Vice President of Mayors for Peace.
Across England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland many civic and other commemorative events will be held by the UK and Ireland members of Mayors for Peace in association with local peace, community, faith and humanitarian groups.
Through 2015 and 2016 the development of a UK and Ireland Mayors for Peace Chapter has been maintained. Given the different form and role of Mayors, and taking into account local government differences across the UK and Ireland, the Chapter has been called the UK and Ireland Mayors, Provosts and Leaders for Peace Chapter. It currently has over 90 members.
In Japan, around 40,000 people will attend the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony on August 6th, with around 20,000 attending the Nagasaki Peace Memorial Ceremony on August 9th. Included in each ceremony are the Prime Minister of Japan, a representative of the UN Secretary General, ambassadors to Japan from across the world, and people from around Japan and across the world joining with local ‘hibakuska’ (survivors of the bomb) and the citizens of the two cities. A key part of each ceremony is the reading of a Peace Declaration by the Mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and a minutes silence. Both ceremonies are shown live on Japanese television. (2)
In the UK and Ireland civic and other events will also be held in the period between August 6th and August 9th. Mayors, Provosts, Leaders, Councillors and citizens from Manchester, many London boroughs, Birmingham, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dublin, Coventry, Leeds, Bradford, Brighton, Liverpool and the Welsh National Eisteddfod in Abergavenny will be present at these, along with many other events all over the British and Irish Isles.
As well as remembering the events of August 6th and 9th 1945, the ceremonies around the UK and Ireland will also remember the civilian populations killed in wars, terrorist actions and localised violent acts. In just the last few months there has been a number of terrible events around Europe and across the world, and civil wars and conflict continue to bedevil our troubled world. These events for Hiroshima Day and Nagasaki Day are a time for reflection, remembrance and solidarity that, by working together, peace is possible.
Further events are also being planned for the International Day of Peace on September 21st. On October 3rd and 4th Mayors for Peace members will be cooperating with the Japanese group Peace Boat, which will contain a number of ‘hibakuska’, and with other groups, for two days of events promoting peace, understanding, tolerance and cooperation. (3)
The Lord Mayor of Manchester and Vice President of Mayors for Peace, Councillor Carl Austin-Behan said:
This August is an opportunity to remember the terrible events of August 6th and 9th 1945 when two Japanese cities endured the catastrophe of a nuclear weapon attack upon them. They also allow the opportunity to work for peace so that such events never take place again and that, through inter-city solidarity, the over 7,100 members of Mayors for Peace can show a different reality. The world has never needed peace as much as it does today. I hope the events in Japan and around the UK and Ireland will give people the opportunity to call for a more peaceful world and encourage us all to work for such an important goal.”
For more information please contact Sean Morris, Chapter Secretary, on 0161 234 3244.
Notes for editors:
(1) The list of events being held in the UK and Ireland are attached with this media release.
(2) Both ceremonies are shown live on NHK World which is available on cable and satellite platforms.
(3) See http://www.peaceboat.org for further details on its activity. Further details on the October 3rd and 4th events will be issued nearer the time as they are finalised.