Example of Personal Resilience for Peace and Human Rights

Masumi Matsumura, translator; Hiromitsu Morita and Takako Kotani, survivors of the atomic bombings of World War II.
Photo credit: UNISDR –The Americas

PANAMA, Panama July 2, 2015 - As part of the 70th anniversary of the creation of the United Nations, of the 70 years of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the arrival of the NGO Peace Boat at the Port of Colon, Panama; a Forum of testimonies was held with atomic bomb survivors (Hibakusha in Japanese), who shared their experiences of personal resilience after succeeding to overcome such a tragic event.

In August 1945, during World War II, two atomic bombs instantaneously reduced the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan to rubble, claiming hundreds of thousands of lives and countless material losses. Even today, thousands of citizens still suffer the devastating aftereffects of the radiation and an unfathomable emotional pain.

Hiromitsu Morita, a panellist at the forum said: "Every time I remember that day, my heart hurts. Children, young people, adults and living beings lost their lives in an instant, on the morning of August 9, 1945. We must not forget. We are here to convey that message, so that the same error and the same sad story is not repeated. "

Having sailed from Japan in April on the 87th global journey of the Peace Boat, eight Hibakusha have made a call for peace and nuclear abolition by sharing their testimony at the different ports of the world, as part of the Campaign "United for Nuclear-Free World, Peace Boat Hibakusha Project" since 2008.  Together with the global campaign "Mayors for Peace", they raise awareness of the effects, consequences and risks of these weapons of mass destruction and encourage public support for nuclear disarmament.

The Forum of testimonials with the atomic bomb survivors, held in the City of Knowledge, organized by UN Panama, City of Knowledge Foundation and the Peace Boat was chaired by Martin Santiago, Resident Coordinator of the UN system in Panama, who stressed: “The elimination of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction and the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons remain key priorities of our Organization. Hence, we applaud the work of the Peace Boat, which through global educational programmes, seeks to raise awareness about the danger that nuclear weapons cause and encourage public support for nuclear disarmament.”

The event concluded with the participation of the Wood Ensemble of the National Youth and Children’s Orchestras System of the state of Vargas, Venezuela, who are also traveling aboard the Peace Boat, along with three young journalists, documenting the testimonies of the Hibakusha in order to pass their message on to future generations.

It should be noted that presently, nine countries have 19,000 nuclear weapons, of which 2,000 remain on hair-trigger alert. The majority of existing nuclear weapons are dozens of times more powerful than the Hiroshima bomb. To avoid another atomic bomb tragedy, the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki have continually sought to tell the world about the inhumane cruelty of nuclear weapons and urged that nuclear weapons be abolished.

About Peace Boat

Peace Boat is an international non-profit and non-governmental, non-profit organization that works to promote peace, disarmament, sustainable and equitable development and respect for the environment. Its activities include the promotion of the Global Campaign “Making Cities Resilient: My City is getting ready!”,promoted by the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR).

The Peace Boat’s 84th Global Voyage (July, 2014) served as a framework for the official launch of the cooperation agreement between UNISDR and the Peace Boat, bywhich the international NGOagreed to raise awareness for the Campaign at each of the 60 ports of call of its educational voyages around the world between 2014 and 2015.

The ship creates a neutral, mobile space andenables people to engage across borders in dialogue and mutual cooperation at sea and at ports of call, in addition to inviting the participation of international guests who present lectures and workshops on board.

Related Links:

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Global Voyage for a Nuclear Free World87th Global Voyage

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