In an appeal issued on Monday, UN Secretary-General António Guterres urged warring parties across the world to lay down their weapons and support the fight against the common enemy: COVID-19.
‘The fury of the virus illustrates the folly of war’, he underlined. ‘That is why today, I am calling for an immediate global ceasefire in all corners of the world. It is time to put armed conflict on lockdown and focus together on the true fight of our lives’.
The ceasefire would create corridors for humanitarians to reach places among the most vulnerable to COVID-19, which as of now has been reported in more than 180 countries. The UN chief stressed that in war-ravaged countries, health systems have collapsed, and health professionals are often targeted. With nearly 300,000 cases worldwide, he also pointed out that the virus does not care about ethnicity or nationality, faction or faith, and ‘attacks all, relentlessly’.
The Secretary-General explained that Special Envoys will work with warring parties to make sure the ceasefire appeal is realised, while there will also be pressure put on governments to make sure that this crisis can be suppressed and its social and economic consequences addressed. He then added, ‘and we can only do it if we do it together, if we do it in a coordinated way, if we do it with intense solidarity and cooperation, and that is the raison d’etre of the United Nations itself’.
UN Photo/ Photographer: Kim Haughton