STATEMENT ATTRIBUTABLE TO THE SPOKESPERSON FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL ON THE 24TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE CHERNOBYL DISASTER
New York, 26th April 2010
Today we mark the 24th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster and honour the sacrifices made by those who died, and those who survived.
We remember the hundreds of emergency workers who responded to the accident; the more than 330,000 people who were uprooted from their homes; the thousands of children who later contracted thyroid cancer.
We commemorate the heroic efforts of those who took on the task of clearing up after the disaster; and the bravery of millions of people in the surrounding area, who have lived with a legacy of fear for their health and livelihoods for more than two decades.
The UN's strategy to address the lingering consequences of Chernobyl is aimed at fostering the region's long-term development and providing people with the information they need to lead safe and healthy lives. The Secretary-General reaffirms the commitment of the United Nations to the Decade of Recovery and Sustainable Development for Chernobyl-affected regions proclaimed by the General Assembly, which began in 2006, and to the UN Chernobyl Action Plan.
The Secretary-General also welcomes the initiative of Ukraine, co-sponsored by Belarus and the Russian Federation, to convene an international conference on the 25th anniversary of the accident in April 2011, to mark progress towards the goal of a return to normal life.
One of the most important global lessons of the Chernobyl disaster is the importance of strengthening the safety and security of nuclear material and facilities. The Secretary-General welcomes the renewed commitment of world leaders to this issue, seen at the Nuclear Security Summit meeting in Washington DC last week.
Communities affected by Chernobyl are demonstrating resilience in coping with the consequences of the disaster, but they continue to need our support.
The UN stands ready to do everything in its power to further the region's revival. The Secretary-General calls on the international community to support the full recovery of all those affected by the Chernobyl disaster.