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Hiroshima and Nagasaki: never again!

03-08-1995 News Release 31

On the 50th anniversary of the dropping of the atom bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the ICRC reminds the international community that the use of weapons of mass destruction, whose effects are by definition indiscriminate, is contrary to international humanitarian law.

In an article published in the French daily Le Monde on 28 July 1995,   ICRC President Cornelio Sommaruga expresses the view that the political environment prompting States to regard nuclear weapons as a deterrent has all but disappeared, while the danger of uncontrolled proliferation - and possible use - of nuclear arms is greater today than ever. It is therefore a matter of urgency for the international community to eliminate the nuclear threat once and for all. The ICRC welcomes the moves made by the United Nations General Assembly to question the legality of this type of weapon.

ICRC delegate Fritz Bilfinger was the first foreigner to reach Hiroshima after the bomb had exploded, and his telegram to the delegation in Tokyo was one of the most dramatic messages in the ICRC's history. Shortly afterwards Dr Marcel Junod, then head of the ICRC's Tokyo delegation, published a first-hand account of the effects of the bomb. This document may be obtained from the ICRC's Press Division in Geneva.