Last Saturday 6th and today, Tuesday 9th August 2022, marks the 77th anniversary of the atomic bombings of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Humanists around the world commemorate this sad and shameful page in the history of humanity, which reinforces our profound commitment to work for peace and non-violence: a yearning shared by all the peoples of the world.

All the justifications given in 1945 were irrelevant in the face of the horror of more than 210,000 dead and 328,000 thousand victims among the wounded and those affected by radiation, the pain caused for decades and the utter devastation, without differentiating between civilian population and military targets. In addition to expressing our total repudiation of these aggressions of 1945, we humanists call upon the conscience of our societies, and demand the urgent need for the prohibition of all nuclear weapons. We also denounce the arms madness entrenched in the power elites and their mercantile and predatory logic.

The only acceptable historical lesson from the nuclear inferno unleashed on the Japanese population 77 years ago is that never again can any country “legally” justify the possession of weapons that have the power to destroy human civilisation and life on the planet. That is why there is an urgent need for the immediate destruction and prohibition of nuclear weapons, whose existence has no ethical justification, whose existence is an intolerable threat to humanity and whose supposed deterrent power is rendered meaningless by their proliferation and technological advance.

It is urgent that the nations of the world committed to peace ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which has been open for signature since 20 September 2017 and has already been ratified by 40 countries, as a major step in the humanisation of the planet. It should be noted that none of the nine nuclear-armed states, nor the members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) were present at the previous negotiations and, obviously, the United States and Russia (nuclear powers that account for 90% of the atomic arsenal) reject the Treaty.

Today, human life is at stake. And just as chemical, biological and cluster weapons, or landmines, whose destructive power is uncontrollable, have been banned, so must all nuclear weapons be banned, be they long-, medium- or short-range and/or “high or low intensity”.

In 2006, humanists from all over the world launched a message through a spot recorded by Silo, founder of the Humanist Movement, in which we warned… “To avoid the future atomic catastrophe, we must work to overcome violence: withdraw invading troops, return occupied territories and dismantle arsenals. These are the urgencies of the moment. This is the cause of courageous women and men”.

This message is still valid. Humanists know that civil society around the world is expressing its desire for peace, its support for disarmament and its opposition to war. People want to live in peace and want resources to be invested for their benefit, not for their possible destruction.

Hiroshima and Nagasaki must always be in our memory and in the hearts of all good people, so that the senselessness and horror of the nuclear threat will never again reign.

IHP International Coordination Team