“I respectfully propose that this day, the 26th of April, be pledged and designated as an official United Nations “Chernobyl Day” – a day that would always be honoured and commemorated. A day for renewal and recommitment to discover new means, new initiatives to alleviate further the suffering of the people in the affected stricken lands.”
On April 26th 2016, the 30th anniversary of the accident at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, Adi Roche addressed a special session of the United Nations General Assembly and made the suggestion that, as part of a campaign to raise global awareness of the consequences of the Chernobyl accident, April 26th should be designated as Chernobyl Disaster Remembrance Day.
Now, 12 months later, the Clonmel native will travel to Belarus and Ukraine along with Chernobyl Children International (CCI) Board Director Ali Hewson, to commemorate the inaugural “Chernobyl Disaster Remembrance Day” – which was ratified by the United Nations in December 2016 following Adi’s landmark address.
For the first time since the devastating accident of 1986, the global community will be welcomed to come together, by the United Nations, to commemorate the disaster and remember the generations of victims who have been and will be affected for years to come. Hewson and Roche, who together have advocated for Chernobyl’s victims over 3 decades, will travel to the Chernobyl affected regions to visit CCI’s flagship Medical Care and Cardiac Programmes.
Ali and Adi will meet a team of Irish-funded International Cardiac Surgeons, who will be performing complex life-saving surgeries on young babies suffering from congenital heart defects as a result of inherited radiation exposure.
Speaking on why the timing of this visit is of special significance Adi Roche, founder and voluntary CEO of CCI, said;
“It is important that we spend this time in the stricken regions, as “Chernobyl Disaster Remembrance Day”, is our legacy to the victims of Chernobyl. This commemoration is so much more than one day – it is the World’s way of telling the past, current and future generations of Chernobyl victims that they are not alone.”
“Sadly, the aftermath of the Chernobyl accident that we’ve witnessed since 1986 is not something that has gone away; while the accident itself is a thing of the past, Chernobyl remains an unfolding tragedy that will affected the stricken regions for generations to come. Chernobyl is forever.”
As initiators of the day of commemoration the Irish charity, who are the only United Nations recognised NGO working in the Chernobyl affected regions, are co-organising a photo exhibition and round-table discussion at the United Nations headquarters in New York due to be attended by United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres.
A series of events are taking place to mark the historic day in Ireland; President Michael D. Higgins and Minister for Foreign Affairs released statements supporting the Irish-initiated Day of Remembrance. Prominent figures from the Irish music industry, such as Paul Noonan, Gavin Class and Maria Doyle Kennedy, are gathering for a once-off special concert in Kilkenny to mark the 31st Anniversary of the world’s worst nuclear disaster and raise vital funds for CCI’s life-saving programmes in Belarus and Ukraine.