UN calls for ‘global ceasefire’ in response to COVID-19

Aleppo ruins

UN Secretary-General Ant├│nio Guterres is calling for warring parties across the world to lay down arms in support of the battle against COVID-19.┬á“The fury of the virus illustrates the folly of war,”┬áhe said in a March 23 statement. “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…┬áSilence the guns, stop the artillery, end the air-strikes. It is crucial to help create corridors for life-saving aid, to open precious windows for diplomacy, to bring hope to places among the most vulnerable to COVID-19.” (UN News, PBS News Hour)

David Miliband┬áof the International Rescue Committee added: “It is tough enough to beat COVID when you have got the best public health systems in the world. We’re talking about places where there isn’t the hand-washing facilities, there aren’t the health facilities.” He especially cited the systematic destruction of hospitals in the Syrian war.┬á“In Northwest Syria…85 health facilities have been bombed by its own government and their Russian supporters.”┬á(PBS News Hour)

Libyan warlord Khalifa Haftar, whose forces have for months been besieging Tripoli, declared a “humanitarian” ceasefire in response to the pandemic on March 21. However, the Tripoli government says artillery and rocket attacks on the outskirts of the city have continued. (Libya Observer, Libya Observer)

Photo of Aleppo ruins from UNHCR

  1. Saudi Arabia announces Yemen ceasefire

    Saudi Arabia on April 8 announced that the kingdom and its allies will observe a unilateral cease-fire in the war in Yemen. Saudi officials said the cease-fire seeks to jump-start peace talks brokered by the United Nations, and had been motivated by fears of the coronavirus spreading in Yemen, the poorest country in the Arab world, where the health care system has been ravaged by years of blockade and conflict. (NYT)

  2. UN call for global ceasefire: two months later

    Armed conflict forced more than 660,000 people around the world to flee their homes between March 23 and May 15, leaving people more exposed to COVID-19, and hindering global efforts to control the pandemic. New figures released today by the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) show that armed hostilities have continued despite a call on March 23 from the UN Secretary-General António Guterres for a global ceasefire. (ReliefWeb)