26 June 2002
"We Must Never Forget" Chernobyl Tragedy's Human Dimension, Says Secretary-General to Launch of Web Site on Catastrophe's Long-Term Consequences
NEW YORK, 25 June (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the message of Secretary-General Kofi Annan, delivered on his behalf by Sergei Ordzhonikidze, Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva, to the organizers and participants in the launch of the new Web site ( www.chernobyl.info), an international communications platform on the long-term consequences of the Chernobyl catastrophe, in Geneva on 25 June:
Greetings to all of you, in different countries, who are today linked by this new international communications platform on the long-term consequences of the Chernobyl catastrophe. You have all worked hard to make this important project a reality. Our thanks are due especially to the Government of Switzerland, which has once again demonstrated its generosity, leadership and foresight in conceiving, supporting and creating this much-needed Web site. The United Nations has been delighted to have the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation as a partner in this project.
During my recent visit to Ukraine and the Russian Federation -- which, along with Belarus, are the countries most affected by the catastrophe -- I saw that, despite the passage of 16 years, much still remains to be done to alleviate the human suffering that resulted from it.
We must never forget the human dimension of the Chernobyl problem. And if we are to mobilize the international support that the people still living in the shadow of this tragedy so badly need, we must ensure that others do not forget it, by providing a steady and sustained flow of impartial and reliable public information.
In this, we will need the concerted efforts of all. I hope that other Member States will follow the example set by Switzerland, and recommit themselves to an active role in the Chernobyl relief effort. The United Nations, for its part, will remain a steadfast partner.
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